Thursday, June 26, 2014

Final 2014 Magic Draft Predictions

I'm in the mood for going out on a limb and probably embarrassing myself. So below are my predictions and expectations for what will occur on this crucial day for the Orlando Magic's path towards championship contention.

The rumor that the Magic have offered the Cavaliers Arron Afflalo, the #4 pick, and the #12 pick for Cleveland's #1 pick has caught fire and seems to be a true offer. The Cavs are just waiting to see if any other suitors can offer a better trade package. That and Cleveland is apparently trying to acquire a solid veteran or two with the #4 and/or #12 pick.

Hennigan I think is offering too much to move up 3 spots. Despite ESPN Chad Ford being at the forefront of this rumor, I will disagree with his tweet in that I believe the Magic prefer Andrew Wiggins over Jabari Parker. Hennigan clearly isn't thrilled with the possibly that he'll be left with an injured Joel Embiid as his best option at #4. He'd like more options so that's why he's exploring moving up.

Come Draft time later tonight, I believe another team will have a better trade package - possibly the Sixers or Jazz - than what Orlando is currently offer. The Cavs will trade that #1 pick, but it won't be to the Magic.

It doesn't look like it'll happen, but if the Magic do indeed trade down I think it'll be with Utah to get the #5 and #23 picks from the Jazz for #4. At that instance I see Hennigan taking Marcus Smart who is good value at that spot. One spot makes a big difference. If that exact trade goes down then I think Rob would snag Cleanthony Early with the #23 selection.

Orlando will hold on to their #4 and #12 selections by the end of the evening. I hope Rob can move up, and he'll try all he can within reason, but Orlando I predict doesn't budge from those 2 spots.

At #4 I am praying to the basketball gods that Dante Exum lands in Orlando. I've been foaming at the mouth to get the Aussie in a Magic jersey. I'm holding out hope that the 76ers take Joel Embiid or Noah Vonleh 3rd so that Exum falls to the Magic. I just don't think Philadelphia at #3 passes up on him. Their Head Coach Brett Brown believes in a system with two ball handlers and Exum could work well next to Michael Carter-Williams.

Hennigan hasn't confirmed anything, but I believe Rob and his staff did receive Joel Embiid's medical files. Embiid is the best prospect in this class, and I think Orlando selects Joel with the 4th pick. Even if he sits out a year, the chance of pairing him next to Nik Vucevic is too fantastic to pass up for guys like Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle, or Marcus Smart. Even a 70% Embiid provides so much more than those other prospects.

Somehow and some way the Magic will luck out and have either Nik Stauskas or Doug McDermott fall into their lap at #12. This would be phenomenal because Orlando could definitely use an outstanding outside shooter. Plus, both guys performed very well at the Draft Combine and both are a lot taller than J.J. Redick.

I believe that 'Henny' will trade either Jameer Nelson or Andrew Nicholson in a package that will include a late first round pick or an early 2nd round pick. This Draft is very deep with numerous serviceable players in that range. I already mentioned Early. Jerami Grant would be a wonderful athlete to bring in. Of course I like Thanasis Antetokounmpo. There's some great wing value as other guys like K.J. McDaniels and Glenn Robinson III will be in that range.

There will be wheeling and dealing. Whether the Magic are at the top of those transactions, we'll just have to wait and see. At the end of the day 'In Henny We Trust' still holds true whether Orlando makes drastic changes or not.

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