The 2014 NBA Draft is just days away, which means we are running out of time to speculate and make claims as to where each player will land. Even with the time winding down until the draft date, there can still be some major shakeups in the draft, especially with the news that broke Thursday:
Joel Embiid has suffered stress fracture in right foot and slated for surgery on Friday, agent Arn Tellem says.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 19, 2014
Joel Embiid, once in consideration as the first overall pick, has fallen out of favor of the Cleveland Cavaliers because of said injury. That being said, Cleveland has began to look in different directions.
It’s still uncertain who they will take, but Duke’s Jabari Parker, Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins, and Australia’s Dante Exum are all likely targets. For some time now, the Magic have been linked to Exum, the athletic guard. Assuming that Embiid/Parker/Wiggins would go top three, Exum could safely fall to Orlando at the fourth overall pick, and become their point guard of the future. Now, with Embiid’s injury, it’s looking like Exum could be floating up and out of the hands of the Magic.
While finding a young point guard was a need for the Magic, they also show another glaring need on their roster; a legitimate power forward. Andrew Nicholson, a 24-year old out of St. Bonaventure, showed signs of life as a rookie, averaging 7.8 points per game. He looked like someone that Orlando could possibly play at power forward for the near future.
Coming into his second season with higher expectations, he failed to improve on his rookie year. Actually, he managed to play worse than he did as a rookie, scoring on 5.7 points per game, while failing to improve his rebounding. He’s looking less and less like someone Orlando could use at power forward, and it looks more and more like they could be going in a different direction.
That direction, could be a young man out of Indiana University.
Noah Vonleh is his name, and he’s been projected to go in the first few picks for some time now. The 18-year-old out of Massacuhusetts put up impressive numbers during his one season as a Hoosier–11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, and a .523 shooting percentage. Vonleh has the ideal size for a power forward (6’10”, 240 pounds) with incredibly long arms (7’5″).
The best part? He’s only 18, and still has time to fill out his extremely large frame. With his rebounding and scoring abilities, Vonleh seems to have all the skills to succeed at the NBA level.
Some say another year of college could have benefited him, and that his body isn’t ready for the NBA. People also said the same thing about Anthony Davis when he came out of Kentucky, and how did that work out? Even if he may not be 100 percent ready, the Magic probably won’t be contending this season.
Basically, they could ease him into their system slowly, as opposed to a contending team who would need him to be producing right away. His size and skill set are too good to pass up on.
Bringing him into Orlando pairs him with another young stud in the paint, Nikola Vucevic. With the rebounding abilities the two possess, Orlando could be on a fast track to success. With fellow Hoosier Victor Oladipo already in Orlando, the Magic would possess a young, athletic, and fast paced lineup from almost every position.
Some believe Orlando should select Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart at No. 4 as a replacement for Jameer Nelson, whose contract expires at the end of next season. Picking Vonleh essentially mean Smart won’t be heading to Orlando, but that doesn’t mean the Magic can’t land their future point guard.
Bringing in Vonleh to their current roster, while possibly adding a point guard with the 12th pick could be a major overhaul for the rebuilding Magic. Vonleh possesses the skills and intangibles to be a successful power forward in today’s NBA, and Orlando could strike gold by taking him at No. 4.