It’s official, the ping pong balls have fallen, and the Orlando Magic officially have the fourth overall selection. While it’s obviously not set in stone, it’s hard to see any scenario where Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, and Joel Embiid aren’t the top three picks. Essentially, that leave Orlando at four to have pickings of the next tier of prospects.
With all that being said, maybe the pick won’t be as hard to make as one may think, and it could be coming from the land down under. Still not sure who I’m talking about? Well its athletic combo guard Dante Exum, and he could be a perfect fit in Orlando’s lineup if they elect to choose him at four.
In the 2013 FIBA Tournament, Dante averaged 18.2 points, 3.8 assists, and 1.7 steals. He shot .333 from behind the arc, and .446 overall from the field. He’s as gifted as they come offensively, and arguably the best guard in this years draft. So what makes him such a perfect fit in Orlando? Well for one thing, he’d be the perfect match next to second year guard Victor Oladipo.
Oladipo, the former second overall pick out of Indiana, is known mostly as a defensive threat on the wing, but his offense flashed as well in 2013-14, dropping 13.9 points per contest. Bringing in Exum would give Orlando a young, athletic, and fast paced backcourt, much like that of Beal and Wall leading the Wizards into the postseason.
Orlando posted an offensive rating of 101.7 in 2013-14, falling to 29th in the league. Their game pace did rank at 15th overall in the league. Basically, Orlando is a fast paced team, but it’s not translating on the offensive end. Bringing in an athletic, yet efficient guard of Exum’s caliber could raise both of those stats, turning Orlando into an electric offensive team.
Looking at Orlando’s roster as it is, they don’t have too much point guard depth behind Jameer Nelson. Speaking of Nelson, the current starting guard, he’s 32 years old. While he’s been a consistent presence running the floor for the Magic for the past ten years, youth is what’s going to turn around Orlando’s future. Nelson would be a quality player on a rebuilding squad, but he just doesn’t fit in with the young, growing, athletic squad that Orlando is becoming.
Exum however, is exactly the type of player that would thrive in that system. Luckily for Exum and the Magic, Nelson’s contract is up after this season. Having him around Dante for one season could do wonders to teach the young guard a few things about being a point guard in the NBA. While Exum might be the better long term option compared to Nelson, he might not be NBA ready his first season, so working him in off the bench behind Jameer could be a smart move on Orlando’s part.
There’s no doubting that having the number four overall pick is something that could completely turn this rebuilding franchise around. While there’s plenty of other elite talent available at four, picking the Australian phenom might be a savvy move for a team that could use another offensive spark plug to build around.