Each Wednesday, we’ll be assessing how the top prospects of the 2013 NBA Draft are faring in college and overseas. Stick with us each week for assorted thoughts, including the biggest risers and fallers, the standouts, the sleepers and what we know and don’t know about the next NBA Draft class…
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Four deep into our team previews, it is time to look at the franchise that has been disengaged by superstars, from Shaq to Dwight. They seem to rebuild once every 10-15 years after a game-changer packs up and heads to Hollywood. How will they go about it this time?
Here is the NBA Draft Fast Five.
ONE: What Do We Know About The Orlando Magic?
Other than Jameer Nelson, Glen Davis, Al Harrington, Hedo Turkoglu and Arron Afflalo the Magic got it right in the rebuilding phase post-Dwight Howard. They scrubbed the roster pretty well and will be down to rookie contracts and nearly $30 million in cap space to build a new team.
Right now they have an array of complimentary bigs with Nikola Vucevic, Andrew Nicholson, Gustavo Ayon and Kyle O’Quinn. None are All-Stars, but each has a skill-set that compliments the team.
They have their young coach, a young roster, and a lot of potential despite not drafting in the top 10 over the past eight years. That will change this summer.
TWO: What Do They Need?
On the perimeter, the Magic are lacking, with modest overall production from the three in specific. They are lacking playmakers on the perimeter that can get the ball in the hoop, taking pressure off of the rest of the roster. This season they are 24th in three-point shooting, 30th in free throw attempts, and shoot the ball under 40 percent in the final four seconds of the shot clock.
Getting a playmaker on the perimeter at any position has to be the primary goal. Nelson is past his prime and Afflalo is a complementary player that would look better playing with an elite scorer to take the pressure off of him. All of the players the Magic have are in that complementary category; they just need that star to make the jump back to the playoffs again.
THREE: Stock Rising
This season Michigan State junior center Adreian Payne has stepped up against the tougher opponents in Ohio State, Indiana and Kansas, averaging 12 points, 7.3 boards and 1.6 blocks a game while shooting 70 percent (14-for-20) from the field.
With the depth at center in this years class, Payne will slip to a good team late in the first round or early second.
FOUR: Stock Falling
What made Rodney Williams a potential first-round pick early in the season was his all-around performance. Through the first nine games, he was averaging 14.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.9 steals a night with the team going 8-1 against fairly quality opponents. Since then, over 13 games he has averaged 10.6 points, 5.1 boards, 1.1 dimes and 1.0 steals with the team going 9-4 overall.
That kind of a drop-off could cost Williams a guaranteed contract, a spot in the first round, and the chance to play on a contender.