Jun 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan (left), first round draft pick Victor Oladipo, second round draft pick Romero Osby and head coach Jacque Vaughn (right) pose for a photo during a press conference at the Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando Magic: Draft Dante Exum, Pick Up A Veteran Forward?

In what has now turned into a trilogy of articles that link together (which can be viewed here and here), we are going to look at what the Orlando Magic should do if they draft a point guard with their fourth pick in this year’s draft.

If you’ve read the last two pieces I have done, you will know that this is not what I personally would do with the pick, preferring to draft a forward like Julius Randle if he is still available. That train of thought did not prove popular with a lot of people, who felt drafting Australian wunderkind Dante Exum was absolutely what the franchise should do. So let’s humor them and play along, and see what would happen if events unfolded this way.

After all, there is every chance the Magic will draft Exum, or a point guard like Marcus Smart for that matter.

Jordan Hill could do a lot of things for the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

At this point many will point out that an energetic forward/big man could be drafted with the Magic’s 12th pick, and that’s true. This team needs veteran leadership from somewhere, though, and free agents will have to be brought in this summer.

The whole culture of the organization needs to change, with a winning mentality being needed to put in place sooner rather than later.

Looking at the top forwards potentially available through free agency this summer, initially it looks like there isn’t much available. Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Zach Randolph and Tim Duncan are all unrestricted in one way or another, but none of them would come near the Magic.

Wading through the other available players, it quickly becomes clear that convincing a high-level player, plus taking them away from their current situations, is not easy. Orlando is just not a desirable destination right now.

Having said that, the Magic can throw some money behind contracts, which always helps the cause, although the team certainly doesn’t want another Rashard Lewis monster contract on the books. An interesting player who may be available relatively cheaply however is Jordan Hill of the Los Angeles Lakers, and he could be just what this team needs.

Hill has four years of experience, and having played for three teams in that time, the Lakers, Houston Rockets and New York Knicks, he has been a part of big market teams.

He has learned how to exist in the same ecosystem as a superstar like Kobe Bryant, while quietly getting his own. Being deployed as either a center or power forward also shows the versatility he possesses.

On top of that, before injury Hill had looked the Lakers’ best player on some occasions when given a chance to play significant minutes as a result of the massive injury list they suffered. In fact, last year he had career highs in minutes (20.8), points (9.7), assists (0.8), and rebounds (7.4). The 7.2 shots a game he took were over two more than his previous highest, while his Player Efficiency Rating of 19.3 (league average is 15) shows that when he was on the court for his team, positive things tended to happen.

As an unrestricted free agent, little fuss has been made in the media about his availability. This could allow Orlando to swoop in and potentially pick up a real steal here.

At 26, the two things that would probably top his list of requirements right now is stability and more money. The Magic can offer both with a long and friendly contract offer.

Los Angeles is going in a different direction as well as it strives to become a contender once more, so they probably wouldn’t try massively hard to pitch coming back to them. This is a nice little scenario, and one which Orlando would be wise to exploit.

The team ranked 22nd in rebounds per contest last year (42.0) and you can bet Hill’s energy and knack for grabbing the ball would be loved in Florida.

Looking beyond Hill, although with the scenario just presented above why would you want to, there’s not a ton out there. We’ve spoken about Ed Davis before and how he could be a nice addition.

There is a lot to like about Patrick Patterson; however, he is a restricted free agent and the Toronto Raptors are building something up north.

Other than that, unless Jeff Adrien takes your fancy, or perhaps Elton Brand, Royce White, Evan Turner or Marvin Williams (didn’t think so) there isn’t much for Orlando to get stuck into in free agency. In fact if anything it only highlights the need to draft one.

Should the Magic decide to draft Dante Exum, there isn’t a ton out there in terms of quality forwards worth talking about. However a core of Exum/Smart, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Hill, Nikola Vucevic would be really exciting to watch.

In fact this is all a positive thing really, whether they draft a guard or forward with the fourth pick, there are enough willing and quality players out there is the other positions needed to ensure this team could make a run for the playoffs as early as next season. Not so bad after all.

Tags: Dante Exum Jordan Hill Orlando Magic

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