A steal and a sensible selection, two high draft picks move Magic forward

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NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

This year’s NBA draft featured four players who’d go top two in an average draft.

The Magic got one with the No. 5 pick.

Jalen Suggs could be Orlando’s first draft pick who turns into a star in Orlando since Dwight Howard. Considering how often the Magic picked in the lottery until the previous couple years, that’s a substantial drought.

Orlando pivoted into rebuilding last season just in time to tank deep enough for Suggs and get the No. 8 pick – used on Franz Wagner – from the Bulls (for Nikola Vucevic).

As nice of a jolt Suggs and Wagner provide, there are no guarantees. The recent history of teams getting two top-eight picks in the same draft shows mixed results:

Part of moving on from its 2019 and 2020 playoff appearances, Orlando parted with win-now coach Steve Clifford and hired Jamahl Mosley. A first-time NBA head coach, Mosley should have opportunity to grow into the job with his young roster.

The Magic signed a few veterans: Robin Lopez (one year, $5 million), E'Twaun Moore (minimum) and Moritz Wagner (minimum). Orlando already has Wendell Carter Jr. and Mo Bamba at center. So, presumably, Lopez’ main role will be veteran mentor. Moore could do the same – and maybe fetch a second-rounder before the trade deadline. Moritz Wagner might specifically aid the transition of his younger brother, Franz Wagner.

Franz Wagner is a nice prospect. He plays sharp defense, can handle and pass the ball at 6-foot-9 and maybe shoot 3-pointers.

But Suggs is the real prize of the Magic’s offseason.

The point guard plays with a tenacity and athleticism that evokes Jason Kidd and Russell Westbrook. Odds are against Suggs reaching that Hall of Fame level. But Orlando ought to feel great about getting a prospect of his caliber with the No. 5 pick

Offseason grade: B

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A steal and a sensible selection, two high draft picks move Magic forward originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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