The 2021 NBA Draft will take place on July 29. As the it approaches, The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. Each NBA squad will be analyzed, team needs will be addressed and potential targets will be discussed.
The Orlando Magic are the subject of today’s 2021 NBA Draft Profile.
Despite the Magic’s perceived irrelevance that permeates the NBA fanbase, they had made the playoffs in two straight seasons before 2020-2021. Their previous two seasons had culminated in first round exits in five games both times.
In 2021, the Magic finished second-to-last in the Eastern Conference with a 21-51 record. Part of the reason behind the bad record was a rash of injuries. Six players finished the season while being listed as injured, including Markelle Fultz, Otto Porter and Michael Carter-Williams.
Now, head coach Steve Clifford heads into his fourth year as the Magic’s head coach, armed with three draft picks. Two of their 2021 draft picks sit inside the top 10, presenting an excellent opportunity to add either starters or, in the worst case scenario, depth in case of more injuries.
2021 Draft Picks
The Magic have three picks in the 2021 NBA Draft.
First Round (two picks):
Picks No. 5 and 8
Second Round (one pick):
Pick No. 33
Depth: As stated above, injuries ravaged this team during the regular season. The result was a bad record and a lottery pick due to lack of depth. The Magic need more role players to step up in case this becomes a trend in the future if they want to return to the playoffs.
Shooting: Orlando finished second to last in points per game in 2021, at 104. In today’s NBA, teams need to be able fill it up to make the playoffs, plain and simple. A pure shooter or two would not go amiss. With two picks in the top 10, they can certainly grab a player like that.
Distribution: At 21.4 assists per game, the Magic narrowly missed being the worst team in the league in that category, by just a tenth of an assist. Some of that is due to injury, but a floor general with great vision for passing could elevate this team.
Pick No. 5: Jonathan Kuminga, SF/PF, G-League
Kuminga is a combo forward who honed his skills in the G-League rather than college to become NBA Draft ready. He scored 15.8 points per game in 2021, adding 7.2 rebounds in 2021. His hyper athleticism overshadows some of his weaknesses, including three point and free throw shooting.
Being able to play two positions on the floor is invaluable to the Magic. Kuminga is a slasher that can move past most forwards on the floor to get easy buckets. If can figure out how to use his long frame to improve his defense and maybe develop a three-point shot, Kuminga could end up being the next franchise player for Orlando.
Pick No. 8: Davion Mitchell, PG, Baylor
Mitchell is most likely the highest rated point guard that can fall to Orlando at pick number eight. There are many talented shooting guards, but the Magic need a floor general and a distributor; skills that Mitchell proved he owns during Baylor’s NCAA title run.
His assist numbers improved during each of his three years in college, culminating in a 5.5 assist per game mark in 2021. He also managed to score 14 points per game. If Mitchell can work on his distributing and trust his other teammates to get the bucket, then the Magic have a floor general that can either run the bench squad or earn his way to starting minutes quickly.
Pick No. 33: DJ Stewart, SG/SF, Mississippi St.
Sophomore DJ Stewart is an overlooked scoring threat in the 2021 NBA Draft. The Magic’s biggest need, as stated above, is more scoring. Seems like a match made in heaven in the early second round for these two parties.
Stewart’s ability to play shooting guard and small forward can create matchup nightmares for opposing team’s benches. He scored 16 points per game in 2021, without a reliable three point shot. If he trains that aspect of his game he can light up teams when he plays the two, then choose to slash or stop and pop when he plays small forward. There would be very little downside to grabbing a scorer like Stewart with this selection.
“From Our Haus to Yours“