Since the Orlando Magic was established in the 1989-1990 season, the franchise has had the best of luck with the ping-pong balls in the draft lottery. Pat Williams has represented the Magic three times in their history (1992, 1993, 2004) and has come out with the first overall pick every time.
In fact, Williams has been so off the charts lucky that in 1993, he won the top pick while having just one out of 66 ping-pong balls. Let that sink in.
Sure, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the top pick this year despite the Magic having the odds in their favor, but was that necessarily a sign of bad luck? With Nerlens Noel’s unquestionable potential as an NBA player, Cleveland has to be strongly considering the big man from Kentucky.
Noel is definitely one of the best defensive players we’ve seen in the college game, blocking shots at an alarming rate, but he also presents a lot of risks. He’s still a very raw player and his game at this point is based off of pure athleticism. Even without his recent knee surgery, there are plenty of risks in taking a player like him at no. 1.
You can understand the comparisons between Noel and a guy like Dwight Howard when he was coming out of high school, but that doesn’t guarantee that Noel will become the force that Howard has become. For every Dwight Howard you have players like Kwame Brown and Michael Olowokandi. Cleveland currently has two lottery pick guards in Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, so it’s logical to suggest that a big man would be more of a priority for them this year.
With Nikola Vucevic looking like a future star, the Magic not getting the top overall pick could be a blessing in disguise. The temptation of taking a player like Noel has to be difficult to resist, but perhaps Orlando’s lucky charm has struck again by not giving the Magic a chance to draft a potential bust at no. 1.