The Magic needed a point guard and a big man to add toughness and more athleticism to the frontcourt. They wanted to see the Magic draft Dante Exum or Marcus Smart with the fourth pick. Instead, the Magic made the first shock choice of the draft by taking Aaron Gordon with the No. 4 pick.
This received mixed emotions in Central Florida as fans, still in a state of shock from the the Arron Afflalo trade, antagonized Magic GM Rob Hennigan for not taking a point guard.
As for the 12th pick, Magic fans were equally dubious of Elfrid Payton, a player that not many people in the Magic Kingdom ever heard of until draft night. In all, Magic fans were split right down the middle on the Magic’s draft picks, with some calling them a stroke of genius, while others panned them as more blunders from a franchise synonymous with the word blunder.
But in reality, the Magic are in the process of building something very special, and actually solved their needs in the draft. Gordon is an athletic freak who can defend any position on the court. He also has a nice touch, and if he can improve on his mid-range jumper, we could very well have the second coming of Blake Griffin, a player similar to Gordon who improved his game by leaps and bounds last year.
And Payton is no slouch either. In fact, he is the exact point guard the Magic needed to draft. Payton can create offense for himself and his teammates, and just like Rajon Rondo, he also has a knack for stripping opposing players of the ball and playing tough defense. Pair him up with Victor Oladipo, and Orlando may very well have the most feared two-way backcourt in the NBA.
As I pored over the Magic’s new lineup, there is nothing that can sway me away from thinking that the Magic can make a big improvement in the weak Eastern Conference. All that is left for the Magic to do now is perform well in free agency, and if the team can get the players they need, then they should be a playoff team.
Regardless of the naysayers, the Magic are on their way back.