1. Before the draft even started, the Magic made a big splash by trading Arron Afflalo. We talked about it pre-draft, now that they made a move, what are your thoughts? Should the Magic have waited? Did the Magic get fair value? Reaction to the deal?
Zach Oliver (@ZachOliverNBA): Well, I woke up to the news, and was a little confused. That said, it seems like that was the best way for the Magic to go. I thought maybe they’d get the 11th pick also, but it’s not bad that they didn’t. They saved roughly six million in the deal, and that could be big for them this offseason if they decide to make a run at someone. Also, they’re getting a nice young player in Evan Fournier who has upside and gives them more versatility with his ability to play both guard spots. I think in the end, it’ll be a fine deal for the team.
Zach Palmer (@FmrTankCommandr): Initially I was pretty disappointed in the return. I sat there staring at the computer screen waiting to see the 11th pick involved in the deal or perhaps even another prospect. That never happened. As the day went on and other supposed offers leaked I do believe they picked the best deal out of the bunch. Fournier is young and his skill set is that of the perfect Spurs role player; he can shoot and move the ball.
Quentin Haynes (@Haynesenberg): At first, I was shocked to see Afflalo valued so low. However, when you go back and look at it, I think they got a solid return. Afflalo has a player option next season, and I find it difficult to see him not opting out for his last pay day. Fournier fits into everything the Magic need right now. He’s young with upside as a shooter. With Oladipo firmly entrenched into the starting shooting guard role, Fournier can develop into an excellent sixth man who can shoot and run the offense from time to time.
Kenny Wilder (@TheWilderSide): I remember feeling a lot like I did when I learned about the J.J. Redick trade. Hennigan couldn’t let Afflalo walk for nothing, but I am surprised that he didn’t receive more. Don’t forget that Afflalo was traded here and did not sign up for a rebuilding project. It isn’t difficult to see a situation where he would not take his player option. Anyone would hate to see his or her team’s leading scorer leave in a trade with a return like that, but the Magic are giving themselves some salary cap flexibility, clearing $6 million, while adding a couple of young assets that could prove to be better than expected. It will be interesting to see how Fournier fits in with all of the new pieces.
Zac Cleary (@zac_cleary): I’m a French graduate student, so I love me some Evan Fournier. So for this trade, I’m 100% on board because I can understand whatever language he tweets in. That’s a huge plus in my book. In all seriousness though, I don’t necessarily have an opinion on it either way because Fournier is so young, he’s only shown flashes of what he can do. But with shooting and ball-handling at a height of 6’7”, I like those flashes. Fair value? Maybe. I know I put in the pre-draft roundtable that I would have been happy with a top-ten pick, but we don’t know how on the table those kinds of offers were. So with that logic, I enjoy this deal.
2. With the fourth pick, they surprised people by taking Aaron Gordon. What was your initial reaction to the pick? After you’ve let it set in some, what is your reaction? Give the pick a grade?
Oliver: At first, I was surprised they did it, especially with Dante Exum still on the board. That being said, as time has worn on, I’ve warmed up to the pick, a lot. Gordon is a “Hennigan” guy. He’s ready to come in and work, and I highlighted that on Saturday. Having gotten to talk to him a couple of times already, Gordon just seems like someone who’s going to come in and put in the work day in and day out. I think he fits well, especially when he adds some more muscle. Overall, I think I’d stick with the grade I gave it in my column, and give it an A.
Palmer: Surprised is an understatement. I did not take this pick well. I happened to go on a child unfriendly Twitter rant where I said a couple things I didn’t really mean. After I’ve let it set in some I’m still very disappointed with this pick. I feel like Exum was the easy choice here but on top of that I had Gordon rated lower than Exum, Vonleh, Smart, and Randle. I’m not really sure how great of a fit Gordon is and I touched on that here. My grade: D
Haynes: At first, I liked the pick. I was big on finding the ying to Vucevic’s yang. Gordon seems like someone who can fill that role. However, I think I was shocked to see them selected Gordon with Exum and Vonleh on the board- two players I felt were better prospects than Gordon. It will take time for his offensive game to develop, and while he doesn’t offer rim protection, he offers Orlando another solid perimeter defender. I’ll lean neutral with my grade. My grade: C
Wilder: I think I was in the majority of people that assumed upon hearing Joel Embiid’s name that the next name called would be Dante Exum. I was shocked. It had to be the name I heard the least in the rumor mill and you would think that this pick would be writing on the wall, potentially, for Andrew Nicholson. I do like Gordon’s athleticism and his ability to play above the rim. We will see how he can rebound at this level and will also be interested to see him defend NBA threes and fours. Hennigan said he went to bed the night before knowing that he would pick Aaron Gordon at four. The Magic got their guy. My grade: B
Cleary: I was holding down the fort on the Presto In The Paint twitter account when this pick dropped, so my tweets were pretty visible for our audience. I was very vocal that I would have preferred Exum, but I was fine with the pick. I just thought it was out of left field and that there would be SOMETHING incoming. And there was a move incoming (foreshadowing to the next question, anyone?). And my current reaction is the same as my initial reaction. I still like it. He can jump really high and that is fun. My grade: B+
3. After watching Elfrid Payton go 10th to the Sixers, the Magic made a move for him. What did you think of the move? Did the Magic give up too much? Grade the pick and trade combo.
Oliver: I liked Payton going in and from the things I’d heard, the team did as well. When the deal first was reported, I was somewhat lost on what exactly the Magic were giving up. That said, I think what they gave up was a little excessive, but it’s not terrible. They gave Philly their 2017 pick back, and got protections on that, so they could still keep that selection, and the second in 2015 isn’t a big deal with the Lakers second most likely coming to the City Beautiful. Payton is going to be a nice player long term, and adding him to the backcourt with Oladipo will give them a very good defensive backcourt. Overall, I think I’d give the pick and deal a A.
Palmer: I like the player but I don’t like the value. The 76ers knew exactly what Orlando’s game plan was as soon as they picked Gordon at four. The Magic in essence gave up two first rounders and a second rounder to move up two spots. Payton is a good player and while I didn’t expect him to start immediately I believe giving up this much value likely means that Jameer Nelson is on his way out of Orlando. Grade: C
Haynes: Not a fan, but I understand why they did it. The Sixers forced Orlando’s hand. They didn’t give up too much, but I also think Orlando will receive much from Payton this year. In the next two or three seasons, I think it might be worth it. Payton is similar to Rajon Rondo in that he can do everything you want. Score, rebound, distribute, defend- you name it, Payton can do it. Because of that, I like the pick. Grade: B
Wilder: Elfrid Payton must have really impressed Orlando. They passed on Exum, and then did what was necessary, once Philly took advantage of the situation, to ensure they still got Payton. For those unhappy about the Gordon pick, it isn’t inconceivable that had Orlando taken Exum at four, Gordon would still be available without the trade. Staying the course rather than taking the next best available at the position once the 76ers selected Payton should speak to what Orlando expects out of him. The more I watch the more I see Rondo in his game, just like many others. It will be interesting to see what the point guard for the pinstripes looks like in the post Jameer era. My grade: B
Cleary: I LOVE ELFRID PAYTON. I love him I love him I love him. He was one of my favorite prospects before the draft and honestly, he made the lack of Dante Exum a lot easier to stomach. Because of that, I don’t think that the Magic gave up too much for him. If you’re a GM and you see your man, you do whatever it takes to get him. It’s a simple concept and it’s one that Rob Hennigan used to perfection in this draft. With Jameer Nelson bought out, Payton gets the keys to the car now. It might be a busted old car at the moment, but he gets the keys to it as a rookie, which I am all for. My grade: A+
4. Overall, the team took three interesting players. How did you feel about what the Magic did when all the dust finally settled? Grade their draft overall.
Oliver: There was disappointment, yes, but I think they did exceptionally well. Having had a chance to listen to not only Rob Hennigan rave about their picks, but also how excited they are to play together and come in and work, I knew they made the right decisions. They got players who will fit well and can help the team basically right off the bat, especially on the defensive end. This may be more of a two-to-three years down the line good daft, but that’s okay. They’ve shown a willingness to take this slowly and not rush it, unless it makes sense. Their second rounder, Roy Devyn Marble, could give the bench a nice scoring punch as well. I think they fared very well in the draft, and I’d give them an A overall.
Palmer: After all the hype and tension heading into the draft it ended in disappointment for me. The first pick of Aaron Gordon was indefensible in my eyes, the trade for Payton was a massive overpay. The move that made the most sense was picking Roy Devyn Marble at 56. Marble is a good shooter coming off screens and moves the ball well. If he doesn’t make the team as a role player he’ll probably get a shot on the D-League squad. I’d be more than happy to be wrong about Aaron Gordon but to me it’s going to be hard for Gordon to be better than Smart, Exum, Vonleh, and Randle. Payton is going to have to become a borderline All-Star to make that trade make sense. Grade: D
Haynes: The picks were nice in a vacuum. Gordon gives you another athletic combo forward, Payton gives you another defensive player, and point guard to run the team, and Roy Devyn Marble could develop into a 3-and-D talent. My biggest problem with this draft is Gordon over Exum. I like Gordon, but I love Exum. That move might blow up in their face. The Magic could get valuable minutes from all three of these guys in the next two seasons, and most likely, the Magic will become a better defensive team with these moves. Grade: B
Wilder: The magic met their glaring need at point guard. While that was to be expected, I feel safe in saying that the need was met a little differently than most Magic fans anticipated. I will remember this draft most for how I felt for the brief moment that I thought the Magic had drafted Šarić with the intention of stashing him and hoping that he would come over later. I saw red with flashes of Fran Vázquez, and then I woke up and remembered that Rob Hennigan was our GM. I am not 100% sold on the Aaron Gordon pick, but if you are telling me that we are in for Lob City East, then sign me up! Overall grade: B
Cleary: If my last two responses don’t tell you what I think about the draft, then I have failed at getting my point across as a writer and I will resign from my post immediately. I gave Gordon a B+, I gave Payton an A+, I know nothing about Marble, so I will average those first two scores. Math, kids. I’m not just a pretty face. My grade: A
5. Looking at the draft overall, what was the biggest surprise to you? Why?
Oliver: Toronto. I’m sure that Bruno Caboclo isn’t real. I refuse to believe that he is. And he’s like two years away from being two years away, right? Right. Also, I hated, HATED what the Kings did. I wasn’t very high on Stauskas going into the draft, and they reached on him, when they didn’t even need him. Why, Sacramento, why? What kind of message does that send to Ben McLemore who, you know, was drafted SEVENTH last year. This is why you’re continually bad, Kings.
Palmer: The biggest surprise to me was Bruno Caboclo going 20th overall. I did more homework on this draft this year than I ever have and I had never heard of this guy. Out of all the guys drafted (internationals included) he was one of only two guys that I had no information on. He’s got great measurements (reportedly a 7’7’ wingspan) and he’s only 18 but he couldn’t get off the bench in low level Brazilian basketball. It was a shocking pick to me for the Raptors who definitely could have used an NBA ready guy to help contribute to another playoff run.
Haynes: The Bruno move shocked me as well, but when you look at the measurements, it looked like a smart move. The biggest shock to me was Nik Stauskas at eight to Sacramento. Not only was he not a need, but Noah Vonleh was right there. Sacramento needed a rim protector opposite of DeMarcus Cousins, and the best one was on the board. Stauskas could be good, but how do you develop him and McLemore? Between this pick and Sacramento’s feelings on Isaiah Thomas, just need feeling the vibes in Sacramento.
Wilder: For me the biggest surprise was Shabazz Napier falling to twenty-four, with the rights ending up with the Heat. Lebron wants, Lebron gets. Napier will be a great addition to a Heat team that I believe will be retaining its core. He obviously has the ability to take control of a game or go get a bucket when needed. Not to mention Bill Simmons’ reaction, while not surprising, was quite entertaining I was going to agree with everyone else in regards to the Bruno Caboclo pick, but a big part of that pick was Toronto making a mistake, which really isn’t so surprising.
Cleary: I had two big surprises in the draft. The first is basketball related. Noah Vonleh sliding to 9. I thought he was a guy that would go in the 3-5 range, so for Charlotte, that was an absolute steal. I love that Hornets team (and even more so with their new uniforms and court hello), but they might have just become a league pass must-watch team for me. The other one is fashion related. Andrew Wiggins’ suit. It was absolutely spectacular. I was surprised but it was an amazing surprise.