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Who’s the best player available for the Orlando Magic in the 2014 draft? Our experts weigh in on overall game, upside, and who the Magic should ultimately choose with the No. 12 pick.
1. Who’s the twelfth-best player in the 2014 draft?
Jacob Frankel: It’s impossible to know in this draft. There’s the top-four of Embiid, Wiggins, Parker, and Exum, then there’s Vonleh, Gordon, Randle, and Smart, and then … who knows. There’s a muck of guys in the 9-12 spots, and almost every mock is different. The more options for the Magic, the better.
Scott Rafferty: Nik Stauskas. If there’s one thing Stauskas will be able to do in the NBA, it’s space the floor — as a sophomore at Michigan, he averaged 17.5 points per game and converted on 44.2 percent of his 3s. His ceiling isn’t as high as some other players in the lottery, but, as the best shooter in the draft, he brings something to the table that every team can make use of.
Tim Sartori: Nik Stauskas. He made a ginormous leap this season and transformed himself into a far more complete offensive player, now possessing an off-the-dribble game to go with the lethal perimeter jumper he’s always had. He’s also a good passer, and showed the ability to switch between the two guard positions for stretches, having improved his ballhandling skills to an above-average level for a shooting guard.
2. Which player has the best upside at No. 12?
Frankel: Kyle Anderson. This 6-foot-9 player with no defined position has literally put up stats not seen since Magic Johnson. There are athleticism, shooting, and defense questions, but his skill-set is so unique it’s tough to pass up. He could just be a college player, but players with his numbers usually don’t flop in the NBA.
Rafferty: Zach LaVine. It’s unlikely that some team will snatch Zach LaVine this early in the draft, but there’s no denying his upside. At only 19 years of age, LaVine has already proven to be a capable outside shooter and he’s a freak of nature, one that thrives in an up-and-down game. However, he’s a project. His shot selection is questionable at times and he tends to disappear on the defensive end.
Sartori: Zach LaVine. I’ve seen Lavine ranked both in the late lottery, as well as the very end of the first round — he’s a real wildcard. He’s a big guard with incredible explosiveness, paired with a solid shooting stroke and good ballhandling skills. If he can tie it all together at the pro level, he has the potential to be a fantastic player.
3. Who should the Magic select at No. 12?
Frankel: Gary Harris. Arron Afflalo won’t be around forever, and Harris is a prototypical wing to fill the void when he leaves. He brings good 3-point shooting, which the Magic are in need of, and he put up really solid numbers at Michigan State with no red flags. He’s a safe pick, but that’s probably a good thing with the lack of knowledge about Exum with the fourth pick.
Rafferty: Nik Stauskas. The Magic’s bench desperately needs a facelift and adding someone like Stauskas would solve a lot of their problems, like their lack of shooting. He can stretch the floor, relieve Victor Oladipo of ballhandling duties in short spurts, and still has further room for growth.
Sartori: James Young. It’s unlikely Aaron Gordon will fall to No. 12, but if he happens to, the Magic should go for him. Otherwise, I think Young may be the best pick for Orlando. Young does a little bit of everything, is only 18, and could play next to both Oladipo and Exum.