The Orlando Magic are in dire need of some star power to reignite their franchise. European prospect Luka Doncic fits the bill.
Despite another season of losing games and forcing fans to endure through a lot of poor basketball, the Orlando Magic only ended up with the sixth pick in this year’s draft.
Their attempt at tanking continuing to result in not hitting the very bottom as quickly as teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks.
So while they once again will have to be shrewd with finding a potential All-Star level player, or do something about their current draft position, there is still reason for optimism.
Another lottery pick by a front office that showed how it is adapting with the times by taking forward Jonathan Isaac in the same position last year gives fans some hope.
There’s no question though that a player like Luka Doncic would provide the team with some much-desired star power, while also filling many needs for the team as well.
It may seem unlikely now, but is there any way they could actually get their hands on the much talked about European prospect this summer to help kickstart their rebuild?
If the team stands still at No. 6 and does nothing, then the short answer here is no. That being said, Doncic only recently came out and said that he would not pull out of this year’s draft — this, despite supposedly not being thrilled by possibly being selected second by the Sacramento Kings. So it is not inconceivable to think they might pass on him.
In fact, NBADraft.net has Doncic slipping as far down as fifth in the current iteration of its mock draft.
Is there any way he could fall one spot further and into the lap of the Magic? Again we’re talking highly unlikely, but the three teams between the Kings and the Magic could talk themselves into other prospects.
The Atlanta Hawks are picking third and have three picks in the first round alone. They could round out their roster in any number of ways with that flexibility, and not all of them would include taking Doncic.
Up next are the Memphis Grizzlies, who may decide to go in the direction of finding a big man (of which there are a few of note in this draft) to replace the aging Marc Gasol.
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They also have Mike Conley under contract on a huge deal. Doncic could play alongside him, but you get the feeling that for him to really flourish, he needs to be the main draw offensively.
After that come the Dallas Mavericks, a team that could admittedly do with a player of Doncic’s talents in much the same way the Magic could.
Is there any way then that the Magic could trade up one spot (or two or three), to ensure that they could take Doncic? Is he even worth that kind of maneuvering?
If the front office believes he is, perhaps it could perform a sign-and-trade where they send Mario Hezonja and the sixth pick to Dallas for the fifth pick.
Hezonja isn’t likely to entice the Mavs to pull the trigger on that deal, and it’s unlikely Hezonja would agree to such a deal when he could just sign with a team he wants in free agency. But what about Jonathon Simmons, who underperformed last season, or D.J. Augustin? Wesley Iwundu or a future first-rounder, even?
With that being said, should the Magic not just stick with taking a player who has played college basketball and for that reason is a bit more of a proven commodity?
Point guard Trae Young would seem to fit that bill, while also being the kind of player — a scoring point guard — the team desperately needs as well … especially when you see images like this.
Doncic, on the other hand, may have some great highlight videos and an army of people on social media who claim to have seen him play, but the Magic have previous experience this decade with a player like that.
The aforementioned Hezonja never has been on Doncic’s level in terms of hype or ability on the court, but fans were happy when he was selected fifth by the team in 2015.
Coming over from Europe, his career to date with the Magic has been underwhelming at best, and as an unrestricted free agent this summer, he may have played his last game for the team.
If this is true, he will leave having averaged 6.9 points and 1.3 rebounds in 18.4 minutes per game on 33.2 percent shooting from 3-point range. You’re right, the Mavericks would be right to ask for more.
There is risk involved in taking any player in the draft, but is Doncic the kind of can’t-miss talent that the Magic should be pulling out all the stops to try and get?
As a shooting guard, he would go brilliantly with a frontcourt consisting of Aaron Gordon (most likely after getting an extension) and Jonathan Isaac.
Add a point guard of some talent (of which there are more in the league than ever before), and that is the makings of a team that could go .500.
All of which is to say that the Orlando Magic could probably go after Luka Doncic if they really wanted to. There’s just no way he falls all the way to sixth in this year’s draft.
However, given the trajectory of this team and where it’s going, moving up to get him would likely mean giving up one of the other young pieces they already have or a future draft pick.
No player should be off limits, but as hard as it may be to believe, the team is looking to build something solid and with direction right now.
If Doncic fit into that vision, we would have heard more rumblings of the team trying to get him by now. We haven’t, so for now it’s just a nice thought.