Photo by fiba.com/2013 FIBA U19 World Championship
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. 4 pick.
1. Who’s the fourth-best player in the 2014 draft?
Jacob Frankel: Dante Exum. Embiid, Wiggins, and Parker are the obvious 1-2-3 picks in some order. There’s basically no tape or stats available on Exum, but credible sources love him, so he seems like the consensus fourth-best pick.
Scott Rafferty: Julius Randle. While there are some legitimate concerns about his game — many believe he is undersized for an NBA power forward and that his “bully ball” style won’t translate all that well to the next level — Randle is the fourth-best player in the draft. He has the skills to make an immediate impact in the league and is one of the more polished scorers in the lottery.
Tim Sartori: Dante Exum. At 6-foot-6 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, he has the height and length to be a combo guard from the moment he enters the league. He has an incredibly quick first step, a great handle, and is a fantastic playmaker. To me, he is on a tier only slightly below the top three (Wiggins, Embiid, Parker) likely to be picked ahead of him.
2. Which player has the best upside at No. 4?
Frankel: I’ll go with a split here between Noah Vonleh and Aaron Gordon. Both are super-athletic power forwards. Gordon has the potential to be a terror on defense, while Vonleh is already shooting 3-pointers and could be an evolutionary Chris Bosh.
Rafferty: Dante Exum. It’s hard not to fall in love with Dante Exum’s potential. He’s a 6-foot-6 point guard with lighting-quick speed and, most importantly, he knows how to put those skills to good use. However, unlike Parker, Wiggins, and Embiid, there isn’t a big body of work to base that on and for that reason, Exum isn’t a surefire hit.
Sartori: It’s a toss-up between Dante Exum and Noah Vonleh. Exum is obvious, for the aforementioned reasons — height and length at his position, scoring abilities, etc. Vonleh, however, has an NBA body at 6-foot-10, 250 pounds, and a 7-foot-4 wingspan! He’s a great rebounder who has showed to have some promising tools offensively, and is only 18 years old.
3. Who should the Magic select at No. 4?
Frankel: Dante Exum. Reports coming from Chad Ford and others say the Magic want a point guard, so Exum should be the guy. Neither Exum nor Oladipo is a pure point guard, so they can share the duties together, making a frightening backcourt. Exum is 6-foot-6 and super explosive, and Oladipo is already an impact defensive player. The two together in the backcourt would be suffocating.
Rafferty: Dante Exum. Exum has the talent to be a top-three pick and where he winds up may come down to how he performs in workouts and interviews leading up to the draft. He’ll likely be on the board when the Magic get their shot and if that’s the case, he’d be a great fit in the backcourt with Victor Oladipo.
Sartori: Dante Exum. Picking Exum means he and Oladipo would be able to share ballhandling duties, and the Magic have a backcourt for the future with as much potential as any other in the league.