The Dwight Howard saga came to a sad, messy conclusion last summer when the Orlando Magic shipped Howard off to the Los Angeles Lakers for a collection of young players headlined by Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless, as well as veteran Arron Afflalo.
The move signaled that a massive rebuilding effort was under way in Orlando. With no young stars to build around, the Magic's collection of middling veterans and middling young players was the perfect recipe for blah.
The team ranks 26th in offensive efficiency this season and is tied for 25th in defensive efficiency. The Magic are in the middle of the pack in Assist Ratio, Effective Field Goal Percentage and Rebounding Rate.
But there is some good news. The team ranks No. 1 in the NBA in Defensive Efficiency Rate thanks in large part to the excellent work on the boards by Vucevic. He's averaging 11.5 defensive rebounds a game and while he's just a middling defender, his work on the boards is crucial. The Magic are also getting strong play from rookie Andrew Nicholson and see long-term potential in Harkless.
At the Thursday trade deadline, the Magic continued the franchise teardown shipping off veteran sharpshooter J.J. Redick for two young players -- Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb. Harris gives the Magic another combo forward who many scouts around the league believe can blossom. Lamb is a rookie sharpshooter who has struggled a bit his rookie season.
Overall, the Magic have a number of nice young pieces. But what they really need is a star. I'm not sure that that star is in this draft, but there are some intriguing options.
Here's a look at their best options if the get the No. 1 pick.
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