- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The [Orlando] Magic‘s roster indeed needs some filling out, especially at point guard. Jameer Nelson‘s backups, Jason Williams and Anthony Johnson, are aging free agents. Williams hasn’t ruled out returning even as the third point guard/mentor, but the Magic need to get younger and, ahem, taller. [Otis] Smith isn’t committed to drafting a trainee, adding, “I think you always take the best guy available. I don’t think you can go in saying ‘point guard’ and pass on a better guy.” Interestingly, of the six players who worked out for the Magic on Monday, only Greivis Vasquez, 6 feet 6, formerly of Maryland, is a true point guard. Vasquez has size, but isn’t a great on-the-ball defender, which is what the Magic desperately need. That doesn’t mean Smith hasn’t had his eye on, say, point guards Terrico White and Mikhail Torrance, both 6-5.”
- George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Magic can’t snag much help with the 29th overall selection. But there are other options. Do they make a run at point guard Chris Paul? What about beefing up the power forward slot with Carlos Boozer? Is anyone out there willing to take on Vince Carter‘s $17.3 million contract for a year? All these shifting variables will determine where the Magic stand a year from now, and whether they are strong enough to stop the three-peat run by the Los Angeles Lakers. The most important time of the year is now. It’s all about the ingredients in the kitchen, and what you can brew up to win an NBA championship. The Magic are in a tough spot because that 4-1 offense with Dwight Howard inside and four guys on the perimeter has combined to win 118 regular-season games over the last two seasons. But it also matches up poorly against teams with bigger lineups, as playoff losses to the Lakers in ’09 and the Boston Celtics this season proved. Going to a more conventional lineup is a huge philosophical shift for this team. But assuming that’s the plan, who do you roll with at the power forward slot? Boozer and David Lee of the New York Knicks are the two most coveted ‘gets’ on the Magic fans wish list but there’s also the thought that the Magic already have a big man who can fit the bill — Brandon Bass. All of us get to play amateur GMs, but only Smith has the power to make a deal.”
- George Shinn, owner of the New Orleans Hornets, wants to build around Chris Paul.
- CP3 is open to a trade, however, as long as he gets a chance to win: “My first choice is to be in New Orleans. I just want to make sure we’re committed to winning. If we’re not committed to winning and trying to get better so we can contend with the Lakers, the Celtics and all these other top teams, then I’m open to being traded. [...] I’m fine with staying in New Orleans, but I want to make sure we’re committed to winning. I don’t want to rebuild. I want to win now. It’s nothing personal against the city. I love that city. But my biggest thing is winning.”
- Rashard Lewis is down with OPP.
- Devin Ebanks and Andy Rautins, two draft prospects that worked out with the Orlando Magic earlier in the week, are considered “hidden gems” according to Ryen Russillo of ESPN Insider. Here’s what Russillo had to say about Rautins: “[He] is one of the few pure shooters in this draft. He is great off the catch, uses screens well to get an open look and has a quick release. Rautins will have a defined role from day one in the NBA: come off the bench and hit shots. At 6-5, he is big and athletic enough to play shooting guard. His handle is good, and he already has NBA range. Rautins will have to understand a good shot in the pros versus a good shot in college. If he goes undrafted, I’ll be shocked.”
- Jordan Schultz of NBA FanHouse writes an excellent story on Quincy Pondexter, a possible Magic draftee: “Defensively, I think he may be the best wing defender on the West Coast, in that he uses his length very well both on the ball, when he harasses the opposition, as well as in the passing lanes, where many of his open-court steals lead to easy baskets. His ability to guard up to three NBA positions boosts his value. It is a rare blend of tools for a 6-7 wing laterally fluid enough to guard twos and threes, yet strong and athletic enough to defend fours. It is perhaps even more relevant than his improved offensive repertoire. [...] He hasn’t developed the range on his NBA three yet, but given his vast mid-range improvements since his freshman season, teams should see he is willing to put in the work. At this juncture, his scoring prowess (19.3 points) is best served from the 18-foot mark and in, where he mixes his pull-ups with dribble-drive and posting.”
- Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference takes a look at how draft choices perform by pick number.