Oh, and the cap? Under it.
The construction plan would be going according to Rob Hennigan’s desires, and the Magic would be still be able to add the big name free agent that could potentially guarantee even great success.
That M.O. failed 13 years ago when the Magic signed a perpetually injured Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady (whose back would begin to betray him by the end of his time in Orlando).
But it’s the swing for the fences approach that NBA GM’s employ, and Hennigan already experienced success through the draft in Oklahoma City, so it makes good sense to trust his talent scouting, as Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel wrote.
Hennigan will be faced with a true quandary on draft night, with a reasonable possibility that the Magic trade down or out of the draft altogether, as many scouts predict the 2014 draft class to be significantly stronger, featuring Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker (who is committed to Duke), Julius Randle, Noah Vonieh (Indiana committed) and Kentucky signees James Young and Andrew Harrison.
It’s a bit early to project how the 2014 class will shake out next season in the NCAA, but the majority of the talent in the class plays on the wing. Parker, especially, is considered by many scouts to be a franchise small forward.
Around the NBA, many are comparing the loaded draft of 2014 to the 2003 NBA draft which featured LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh as four of the top-5 picks.
The issue is, if the Magic pass on Smart, they may miss their chance to land an elite rookie point guard for at least two seasons. The highest ranked point guard prospect in 2014, Andre Hollins, isn’t expected to be selected until the late lottery.
The Magic have Maurice Harkless looking good at the 3-spot, but let’s be real: Harkless will never be a franchise player. He’s a defensive stopper and role player at best.
Upgrading to a game changing talent at the 3-spot makes either this year with Shabazz Muhammad or with Parker next year makes nearly as much sense as seeking to replace Nelson now.
The blueprint is still being sketched by Hennigan, but the Magic’s draft options moving forward seem reliant upon the point guard and small forward positions.
Nelson had a good run in Orlando, but if Smart really has Harden-like potential the Magic need to go ahead and pull the trigger on selecting him should they land a high enough pick to do so.