The 2014 NBA Draft is less than an hour away and that means that all final mock drafts have been submitted.
Below, you will find a collection of opinions from some of the NBA’s best writers about who they think the Orlando Magic will select with the 4th and 12th overall picks.
To conclude, I will give my own predictions too.
Phil Ervin (Fox Sports): Marcus Smart and Noah Vonleh
On Smart: Many experts called Smart an NBA-ready prospect after his freshman season in Stillwater. But the 20-year-old stayed an extra year in college and now could work his way into the top five, especially if the Magic plan on trading or letting go of Jameer Nelson, who has an $8 million team option on his contract for next season.
On Vonleh: Having addressed one of two main needs with Smart with the No. 4 pick, Orlando can turn its attention toward the post. Vonleh is a long, beefy big man that can score inside and out and has the size to be a rim protector at the other end of the floor.
Adi Joseph (USA Today Sports): Dante Exum and Dario Saric
On Exum: Exum could end up being drafted first overall, and the hype around him has grown by leaps and bounds this year. He’s no man of mystery: NBA scouts have been watching Exum for years in Australia. The Magic can draft Exum either as their much-needed point guard of the future or as trade bait, considering his surging value.
On Saric: With Exum locked up, the Magic again can take the best available player, and it again is a foreigner. Saric has proven himself the past couple years and is the most skilled power forward in this draft. He’s also rather polished and tested for a 20-year-old European. He and Exum could start from Day One.
David Aldridge (NBA.com): Noah Vonleh and Marcus Smart
On Vonleh: The Magic are a prime candidate to try and move up (Exum? Wiggins?) if their first choice is likely to be gone by this pick. They have some assets to use, including Arron Afflalo (the Magic have been rumored as a possible facilitator for a Kevin Love trade to Denver, for example). If they stay here, Vonleh’s off-the-charts length would be a terrific complement to Nikola Vucevic‘s interior play.
On Smart: It would be more of a surprise if the Magic kept this pick than dealt it. If they keep it, though, Smart is an easy pick to become the heir apparent to Jameer Nelson. Smart’s not a great shooter or scorer, but his toughness and leadership skills — and his size for his position — will be hard to ignore. Smart could obviously go much higher than this, but this is his absolute floor.
Gary Parrish (CBSSports.com): Joel Embiid and Adreian Payne
On Embiid: If you’re Orlando, I guess, you’re more nervous than thrilled here, but you’re still kinda thrilled because you’re getting the best talent in the draft with the fourth pick, and, man, if this turns out OK it really could be a boon for the franchise. On the other hand, if Embiid proves to be basically injured forever, then you’ll forever be the franchise that wasted the fourth pick in a deep draft on a center with documented back and foot problems, and that would stink. Regardless, Orlando has another lottery pick in this draft, meaning the Magic are in a position to gamble, and I think a roll of the so-called dice on Embiid here is a bet worth making
On Payne: It’s rare for juniors who are projected as second-round picks to return to school and become lottery picks. But Payne, who could be a really good pick-and-pop forward in the NBA, somehow beat the odds, and the Magic would be wise to add a player ready-made for the NBA after, presumably, taking Embiid with the fourth overall pick.
Matt Moore (CBSSports.com): Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton
On Randle: Exum is their guy, and there’s speculation that they would take Embiid. But is Orlando looking to put so many eggs in a broken basket? Meanwhile, Randle has slipped, nearly inexplicably, down past so many other less accomplished forwards. The reality is that Randle fits the Magic’s profile of athleticism and aggressiveness, and can be paired with Nikola Vucevic. He makes the most sense by far.
On Payton: Let’s get crazy! Payton has set the workouts on fire the last few weeks. I’m not sold on him based on the fact he can’t hit the broad side of a barn from beyond five feet. But he’s a pure point, the only one in this draft, and while they like Oladipo with the ball, they’ll like him next to Payton even more.
My prediction: Marcus Smart and Doug McDermott
On Smart: The Magic need a point guard of the future and with the uncertainty around the future of Jameer Nelson, Smart could be their guy going forward. The Magic loved him a year ago, so much so that they would have drafted him then, so they should stick to their guns and take him here.
On McDermott: The guy just scores and gets the job done, so why wouldn’t the Magic want to add that to their team? He can pass and also stretch the court due to his deadly three point shot.
Tags: Orlando Magic