The 2014 NBA Draft is in the rear view mirror now and it’s time to evaluate how good of a draft Rob Hennigan and company had.
As a reminder, the Magic took Aaron Gordon 4th overall, then acquired the rights to Elfrid Payton before adding Roy Devyn Marble at No.56 after trading Arron Afflalo earlier in the day to the Denver Nuggets.
The choice of Gordon took everyone by surprise, myself included.
Hennigan passed up the opportunity to select Dante Exum, Marcus Smart and Julius Randle among others to take Gordon. If anything, this tells us directly that Gordon was their man from the get-go.
With that being the case, Hennigan and Jacque Vaughn must have a game plan with the Arizona big man. He is an elite defender and is extremely athletic so it’s likely he could be used to defend the opposition’s best player.
Magic: Aaron Gordon: A-: Can't miss pick. Worst case, he's a defensive lockdown. Best case, an athletic freak who can change the game.
— Matt Moore CBS (@MattMooreCBS) June 26, 2014
His actual position is unclear as he can play both forwards positions which creates versatility. However, he struggles with his shot and hits less than 50 per cent from the free throw line. If he can hit his shot with regularity then Gordon will quickly become a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the floor.
While the pick threw a number of people off, it’s received great reviews from those in the media. James Herbert of CBSSports.com gave the pick an A-.
The Magic also had the 12th overall pick in the draft and selected Dario Saric, but quickly moved him, along with a 2015 second rounder and a conditional 2017 first rounder to Philly to acquire point guard Elfrid Payton.
Payton figures to be the point guard of the future for the Magic and that is a position they had to get under wraps. The future of Jameer Nelson is still unclear so addressing the point guard position, either in the draft or free agency, was required.
In Payton, the Magic get a guy who can score, is very quick, can create his own shot and is a good handler. Like Gordon, he has problems shooting the three with regularity as well as hitting free throws. He’s also somewhat turnover prone.
However, if the Magic keep Nelson around (they should) then Payton can learn from a player who has had a lot of experience and success in the NBA.
Finally, the Magic selected Roy Devyn Marble 56th overall, after acquiring that pick earlier on Thursday by trading Afflalo back to Denver.
Marble is a two-guard who averaged 17 points per game last season at Iowa. With the current roster set up, Marble may find it difficult to make the team unless some moves are made.
Magic have 14 guys on the roster right now, including 1st rounders & unguaranteed deals. Will be very difficult for Marble to make the team.
— mBo (@MagicBasketball) June 27, 2014
He needs work all around as a player and must improve as a scorer and as a defender but the talent level is there.
Initially, it appeared as though the Magic butchered the draft. The selection of Gordon was a shock and then they gave up a good chunk of assets to acquire Payton’s rights. However, as Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel writes, the Magic didn’t give up as much as it seems.
The biggest problem the Magic have moving forward is scoring. They are going to be fantastic on defense but as things stand right now, they are going to struggle to score, and it’s highlighted even more after the Afflalo trade.
Hennigan is going to have to pen a couple of scorers in free agency to round out this team, but overall, Henngian did a good, not great, job with this draft.