B is for Basketball; and the Orlando Magic Draft – Report Card
After sitting around for nearly 200 minutes waiting for something/anything Orlando related to happen, we got news of the Justin Harper trade. It was a long wait, but one that should have been longer for Magic fans if they had been forced to wait around for #53. The Magic came into the night holding only the 53rd overall pick and ended the night with a 1st round talent and a mid-second round talent in their hands.
The most important part? No risk. These are second rounders with no guaranteed contact. They HAVE to prove themselves. Certainly the goal of a draft pick is to always have them make the team, but the lack of a guarantee gives the team payroll flexibility. Something, that sadly, they have little of throughout the rest of the roster.
Let’s take a look at the players:
Justin Harper – SF/PF – University of Richmond
– Draft Express had Harper listed as the 3rd best Senior in the draft and 28th best player overall.
– “Proficient at getting defenders off balance with a pump fake/jab step and then blowing by them and getting to the rim using the dribble ” – NBADraft.net. NBADraft.net had Harper listed at 26 on their big board.
– Ranked 28th on ESPN and Chad Ford’s big board. Ford, along with everyone else, says that Harper needs to add size and toughness to stick in the NBA. Ford also praises his range but warns that he can fall in love with his jump shot at times.
– Led the Atlantic 10 in scoring in conference games (20.3 ppg) and averaged 7.3 rebounds per game in conference play. He averaged 17.9 ppg for the season.
– Best player on a team that went to the Sweet 16. Dropped 22 points and 9 boards in Richmond’s Sweet 16 loss to the Morris brothers and Kansas (loaded with NBA talent).
DeAndre Liggins – SG – University of Kentucky
– Ranked as the 62nd best prospect by Chad Ford and ESPN, 56th by NBADraft.net and 58th by DraftExpress.
– Ford calls Liggins an “exceptional defender” and says he can guard three positions. An obvious weakness for the Magic last season.
– Averaged only 8.6 ppg as a Junior for Kentucky but averaged heavy minutes at 31.6 a game. Those are minutes played with NBA lottery pick talent like Brandon Knight, Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones.
– Not known for his offense at all but for his tenacity and versatility. A guy that was described by NBADraft.net as “someone who takes pride in shutting down his matchup.” DeAndre was named to the SEC All-Defensive team in 2010-2011.
– Praised by Otis Smith for his toughness coming out of Chicago. Out of HS he attended a year of prep school so he is actually a year older (23) than most of his classmates.
– The best part about Liggins is that he knows how to play to his role. He has been surround by elite NBA talent in his 3 years under Calipari and the Kentucky Money Machine. He is a defender. He knows that.
Why a “B”?
The Magic came into the draft with low expectations. They could have traded into the first round, and they tried, but were smart not to overreach when the value wasn’t there. They ended the night with a 1st round talent and they gave up nothing more than invisible draft picks (2nd rounders in ’13 and ’14) to get there. They also picked up Liggins who is a guy who has a real chance to find a niche as a speciality defender in this league. Most importantly, both guys will come CHEAP and with LOW risk.
Yes it would have been a lot more exciting to say that Otis made some sort of super slash and traded half the roster, but I believe him when he said the value wasn’t there. You can’t make trades just to make them. If the right trade was there, and he made it, then it could have pushed this to an A or B+. It wasn’t though and what you have is Rashard Lewis-lite and Stanley Robinson with confidence. Those are good things.
If they develop one day into solid role players than Otis will have struck gold. If not, then it’s no big deal. I’d say that is a solid job of mitigating risk and acquiring assets.
Solid job = B
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