The Orlando Magic have a great chance to improve their roster in the 2021 NBA Draft, armed with the fifth and eighth overall picks. That latter first-round selection came in Orlando’s blockbuster trade that sent Nikola Vucevic to the Chicago Bulls.
Check out our Magic draft preview, which features a complete list of Orlando’s selections, our mock draft of who they’re likely to get, analysis of the team’s prospective selections and potential trade scenarios.
Orlando Magic 2021 NBA Draft picks
- First round, 5th pick
- First round, 8th pick
- Second round, 33rd pick
Orlando Magic mock draft: Pick No. 5
- 4. Toronto Raptors: Evan Mobley, center, USC
- 5. Orlando Magic: Scottie Barnes, forward, Florida State
- 6. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jonathan Kuminga, forward, NBA G-League
Orlando Magic mock draft: Pick No. 8
- 7. Golden State Warriors: Davion Mitchell, guard, Baylor
- 8. Orlando Magic (via Chicago): Keon Johnson, guard, Tennessee
- 9. Sacramento Kings: Corey Kispert, forward, Gonzaga
Orlando Magic draft Scottie Barnes with 5th pick
Listed at 6-foot-9, Florida State’s Scottie Barnes actually has a nearly 7-foot-3 wingspan. Combine that with phenomenal athleticism and a fierce competitive streak, and it makes for a pretty fantastic player.
Barnes leaves something to be desired on the offensive end as a scorer, yet his ability to guard every position on the court and high basketball IQ make him a hard prospect to pass up at fifth overall. Orlando needs a lengthy wing defender, especially after trading Aaron Gordon to the Denver Nuggets.
What’s also great about Barnes is that he’s a capable and willing passer who will routinely make the right play for his teammates. He averaged 4.1 assists per contest for the Seminoles, which is ideal for a Magic squad that had the third-fewest assists in the NBA during the 2020-21 campaign.
Orlando Magic draft Jonathan Kuminga with 5th pick
Funny enough, 247Sports compared Jonathan Kuminga to former Magic lottery pick Jonathan Isaac. He’s similar to Barnes in a lot of ways in terms of defensive versatility, but Kuminga’s game has a little more upside to it.
The thing is, Kuminga seems to represent more of a risk-reward than Barnes. In Kuminga’s 13 games in the G League, he shot only 38.7% from the field and 24.6% from 3-point range on five attempts per game.
Not having Isaac for all of this last season and losing point guard Markelle Fultz after just eight contests doomed Orlando. Nevertheless, the rest of the squad didn’t really step up defensively, ranking 26th in defensive rating.
Whether it’s Barnes or Kuminga, Orlando has the advantage of having another top-10 selection. It can afford to go a little bold with this No. 5 pick, so maybe Kuminga’s ceiling will be too tantalizing to pass up, as opposed to a seemingly safer option in Barnes.
Orlando Magic draft Keon Johnson with 8th pick
Loading up on wing players might seem counterintuitive, considering oft-injured shooting guard Gary Harris is entering a contract year, and Markelle Fultz is an unreliable 3-pointer. In other words, you’d think the Magic would go after perimeter offense here.
But what’s the harm in trying to build a defensive juggernaut and filling out the need for outside shooting by other means?
Maybe Orlando won’t be able to resist going with a better shooter here like Arkansas’ Moses Moody. However, in our mock, we have the Magic getting Tennessee defensive specialist Keon Johnson. He’s more of a shooting guard than a small forward, but can play well at the 3 if Orlando sees him as a better fit there.
Johnson averaged 10.3 points for the Volunteers, and although it’s not always true, his 70.3% free throw clip suggests his jump shot has room to improve once he has several years of NBA experience under his belt.
Orlando Magic NBA Draft trade scenarios
- Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets: With recent rumors suggesting the Nets will listen to Kyrie Irving trade offers, the Magic should at least kick the tires on that possibility. A package involving the No. 5 pick, Gary Harris, Terrence Ross and Mohamed Bamba might provide enough depth and versatility for the Nets to move off the mercurial superstar.
- Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets: This is pure speculation, but since Porter is a restricted free agent next summer, maybe the Nuggets would consider trading him if the price were right. Denver has drafted extremely well over the years, and an offer of Jonathan Isaac, plus the fifth and eighth picks, would at least get Orlando a conversation. These teams did business recently in the Aaron Gordon trade.
- Trade up with Cleveland Cavaliers: Cade Cunningham is widely expected to go first to the Detroit Pistons, and the Houston Rockets will probably want their shot at the next-best prospect. The Cavs could be in the market to trade down, and at No. 3 overall, the Magic could be either take a player or leverage that pick in another blockbuster deal.
Orlando Magic draft preview: Finally time to end franchise funk?
For the past decade or so, Orlando is where young talent has gone to waste away or eventually be traded. The only potentially big hit you could argue for is Isaac, and he’s coming off a torn ACL.
If the Magic stay pat, they have two swings at the plate inside the top 10. Perhaps they can unearth a surprise superstar with one of those choices to join with Fultz and Isaac as part of a legitimate foundation to build around.
This organization is desperate for a winner, and just needs to make smart decisions so that Orlando becomes an attractive free-agent destination. Otherwise, it’ll take hitting the lottery in the draft to really make big strides in the coming years.