The process of rebuilding the Orlando Magic began last summer when they traded Dwight Howard. Now, after a tumultuous season—which was no surprise—the franchise looks towards the 2013 NBA draft to continue that movement.
With the No. 2 and No. 51 overall picks, the Magic will have two opportunities—barring draft-day trades—to add more young talent to their roster.
But which former college stars or international standouts make the most sense?
No. 2 Overall Pick
After finishing the 2012-13 regular season with the league's worst record, many fans believed that the Magic would be rewarded for their dreadful season by obtaining the No. 1 pick through the lottery.
Unfortunately, things didn't work out.
However, the Magic will pick second, which may not be a bad thing given the underwhelming talent within this draft. Regardless of whom the Cleveland Cavaliers select with the first pick, the Magic will be in position to take one of the two best players in the draft.
1. Ben McLemore (SG, Kansas)
Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore is one of those players.
McLemore had an excellent season for the Jayhawks. He averaged 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game while shooting an impressive 49.5 percent from the field and an equally good 42 percent from three-point range.
If that move—or any move involving Afflalo—goes through, there will be an immediate vacancy at the 2-guard spot.
While Kotoch's mock draft has the Magic taking Indiana's Victor Oladipo, McLemore has much more upside as an offensive threat and would make more sense from Orlando's perspective.
2. Nerlens Noel (C, Kentucky)
Nerlens Noel was once considered a virtual lock for the draft's top pick, but recently that's changed in the minds of some. In fact, NBADraft.net, Hoops World and the aforementioned mock draft at Sheridan Hoops all show Noel dropping several spots.
Even with those predictions, though, Noel will be the best available player at No. 2 for the Magic if he isn't taken with the first pick.
Despite an ACL injury that forced him to miss much of his freshman season at Kentucky, he managed to rack up a staggering 4.4 blocks per game.
The Magic could certainly use a defensive presence in the paint.
Nikola Vucevic showed plenty of promise offensively and on the boards, but he struggled at times on the defensive end. Having a player like Noel to rotate in—or possibly get some minutes at power forward—would be a nice addition.
McLemore fills a more immediate need on offense, but Noel would be a smart pick as well.
3. Victor Oladipo (SG, Indiana)
Not only were the numbers Victor Oladipo put up last season impressive (13.6 PPG, 6.3 RPB, 2.1 APG), but the fact that he continued to grow and build upon his sophomore season was just as impressive.
Perhaps that's one of the reasons why he's rocketed up most mock draft boards recently.
Showing the continuous ability to learn and improve is something that scouts have to like. As he heads into the NBA, Oladipo still has plenty to catch up on. But his great athleticism should allow him to jump right in with the pesky, relentless defense he played during his tenure with the Hoosiers.
Offensively, he has plenty of room to grow. Maybe that's what ultimately makes him such a good prospect.
It's hard to teach defense, but one can improve on offensive fundamentals with practice.
The Magic couldn't go wrong taking Oladipo with this pick.
No. 51 Overall Pick
With this pick, the Magic could go several directions. It will likely depend on what they do in the first round.
If they go big, they'll clearly go small with this pick and vice versa.
And while it's sometimes difficult to predict how a player drafted late will end up contributing, there's always a hidden gem waiting to be found.
1. Carrick Felix (SG, Arizona State)
If the Magic decide not to use their No. 2 pick on either McLemore or Oladipo and do end up trading Afflalo, they'll definitely be taking a shooting guard in the second round.
One player who would be an excellent steal if he's around at No. 51 is Carrick Felix.
Felix used all of his college eligibility, so he has plenty of experience and won't come into the league with a steep learning curve. He seems to know what he's capable of doing and generally plays within himself.
In his final year for the Sun Devils, he averaged 14.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from three-point range.
Those numbers are certainly impressive.
Nabbing Felix with this pick could potentially make general manager Rob Hennigan look like a prophet.
2. Peyton Siva (PG, Louisville)
With their second-round selection at No. 51 overall, the Magic have little to worry about in terms of risk. That's exactly why Louisville's Peyton Siva might make sense.
Siva probably won't become a star at the next level, but it's hard to pass on a guy who exudes passion and works hard.
At 6'1", he's no doubt undersized. He also lacks a consistent jump shot to force opponents to play up on him. That, in turn, will limit his ability to drive to the basket and create—which is his forte.
Within the next few years—because of Jameer Nelson's age—the Magic will need a new point guard. Siva might not be the future starter, but this late in the draft, it wouldn't hurt to give him a chance to prove himself in the NBA.
3. Ryan Kelly (PF, Duke)
Aside from a few nagging injuries that prevented him from reaching his maximum potential at Duke, Ryan Kelly put together a very nice career for Coach K.
During his senior season, Kelly averaged 12.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game while shooting 45.3 percent from the field and a very good 42.2 percent from behind the three-point line.
He lacks strength, quickness and doesn't have much of an inside game, but he's an accurate shooter who can bury threes if left alone.
And while he doesn't have the athleticism to beat defenders off the dribble, he's incredibly crafty and uses his wit to find open looks or draw fouls.
Like Siva, he won't be a star, but he's an experienced player who learned under one of the best and could provide plenty of value off the bench.
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