Obviously replacing a player of Dwight Howard’s caliber is far from an enviable task. Fortunately, the Orlando Magic seem committed to the rebuilding process, which is ultimately the first step to moving forward with a franchise.
After all, the Oklahoma City Thunder did it in 2007 with Kevin Durant. However, the “Thunder model” is far from an easy design to emulate, as it demands so many crucial elements through the draft and the front office to be executed flawlessly(and with quite a bit of luck).
Over the course of the next week I will break down who I believe the be the top prospects for the Magic to pursue in the 2013 draft. And while some strongly believe they are a lock for a top-five pick, they will not be in the following article. As I strongly believe this team will put up a fight this season. Not so much for standings, but to prove to themselves that no one player defines a franchise.
That said, according to NBAdraft.net, the Magic are projected to have the 19th pick, where as an ideal and very possible situation would be the 1st. So to realistically temper expectations and still place the Magic within the lottery, we’ll place them right in the middle with the 9th overall selection.
So while it’s much harder to land a talent like Durant that late in the lottery, we all know the draft is anything but an exact science.
So who should the Magic select if they were to have the 9th overall selection? Here’s my first pick of the five.
Kyle Anderson is one of those rare prospects that has clearcut franchise player potential. Essentially a hybrid of Paul Pierce and a lanky Magic Johnson, Anderson breaks down opposing defenses with his uncanny court vision and bevy of hesitation moves.
To be honest, I wouldn’t be even slightly surprised if someone rolls the dice on him as high as 4th overall, he’s honestly just that good. That said, let’s just pretend someone pulls a “Paul Pierce(10th overall)” and lets him slide. He would undoubtedly have the kind of winning pedigree that could help shape a new culture in Orlando immediately.
After all, he spent his formative high school years under legendary coach Bob Hurley and will spend the next year under no-nonsense Ben Howland, a coach notorious for churning out NBA ready point guards. So it’s really no secret this kid is going to have one of the best basketball I.Q’s coming out of college that we’ve seen in quite some time.
Literally a walking mismatch as a primary ball handler, Anderson has shown a natural ability to dictate a games pace. He’s deceptively quick and appears to constantly thinking one step ahead of opposing defenses. In some ways he’s eerily reminiscent of the Houston Rockets Shaun Livingston prior to his career altering knee injury.
So just how good is Anderson?
“People say Kyle is slow, but it’s never been a problem in my eyes,” says St. Anthony Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Hurley. “Other kids might be better athletically, but I wish more kids would play with the controlled pace that he does all the time.
“The way he dribbles and his handle remind me of Magic Johnson, and his other sharp instincts are like Larry Bird,” Hurley continues. “If you can talk about two players like that who had such different qualities while being great, that says something about Kyle.”(via Brandon Parker, ESPN)
If Hurley, a coach who does anything but just talk to talk, is already speaking this highly of Anderson, we may still have yet scratch the surface of this kids potential.