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 third pick of of the five.
Steven Adams is personally one of my favorite prospects in this years draft, and for good reason. The New Zealand native is relatively raw, having never played against high level competition, but is already drawing comparisons to the likes of Serge Ibaka or Marc Gasol.
He has a tremendous motor and willingness to scrap for every loose ball. He already has great size and has shown a desire and willingness to do whatever it takes to improve.
Defensively, Adams is extremely well rounded, capable of disrupting entry passes, an aptitude for playing his man on the low block, as well as the awareness to block and alter weak side attempts.
He also has the size and instincts to have a major impact on the glass. A truth which should translate to him having an immediate impact on the boards at both the collegiate and pro levels.
Offensively, Adams versatility is often overlooked. He shows a mixture of developing back to the basket and face up moves, which once polished could prove to make him a very efficient low post scoring option.
Fortunately his soft touch and blue collar work ethic should make his offensive skill set progress rapidly.
So despite the fact Magic fans would undoubtedly be weary about the proposition of taking yet another center early in the draft, this kid has all the intangibles and God-given ability to become a franchise center with time.
After all, they always say third time’s the charm right?