The Blue Route Mock Draft: Pick #16 – Orlando Magic

With the 16th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic select…

Blue Route is bringing you draft coverage leading up to the NBA draft on June 20th, 2019. The Philadelphia 76ers are slated to select 24th pick in the draft. The NBA draft often sees movement, trades and drama, so to prepare you for various potential outcomes, the Blue Route will be giving you draft profiles for the all of the likely top picks, as well as our very own mock draft.

2019 NBA Mock Draft Results
  1. New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson
  2. Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant
  3. New York Knicks – RJ Barrett
  4. Los Angeles Lakers – Jarrett Culver
  5. Cleveland Cavaliers – DeAndre Hunter
  6. Phoenix Suns – Coby White
  7. Chicago Bulls – Cam Reddish
  8. Atlanta Hawks – Sekou Doumbouya
  9. Washington Wizards – Bol Bol 
  10. Atlanta Hawks – Jaxson Hayes 
  11. Minnesota Timberwolves – Nickeil Alexander-Walker
  12. Charlotte Hornets – Darius Garland
  13. Miami Heat – PJ Washington
  14. Boston Celtics – Brandon Clarke
  15. Detroit Pistons – Rui Hachimura

Current State of the Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic have been a turnstile in terms of head coaching. It’s been a decade since the last time the Magic won a playoff series. With their fourth head coach in six years, the Magic finally seem to have struck gold with Steve Clifford. Clifford guided the Magic to a 42-40 record as they made the playoffs for the first time in seven years. Most importantly, Clifford gave the Magic the culture and direction they have very much lacked since 2012.

Although it was only 42 wins, there is reason for optimism in the land of Mouse Ears. Contrary to years past, the new look Magic made legit strides in the area of defense and limiting turnovers. They finished 8th in the NBA in defensive rating and were 6th best in the Eastern Conference. Similarly, they finished 6th best in the NBA in turnovers per possession (13.2%), as we learned that defense and taking care of the ball was what head coach Steve Clifford was all about.

That wasn’t the only positive. Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier had excellent seasons. Nikola Vucevic became a legit perimeter shooter and shot 36% from three point range (no, seriously). Vucevic averaged a career best 20+ points per game in a contract year. However, Vucevic is what he is: you can’t run your offense through him in meaningful games.

Jonathan Isaac needs to improve from the corner. Markelle Fultz needs to improve from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (or whatever, moving on). Aaron Gordon needs to become a better scorer. Mo Bamba had a very meh rookie season and slowly developed. However, this was something everyone expected. There is plenty of development still ahead.

Looking Ahead into 2019 Free Agency

The Magic have five major players as unrestricted free agents this summer, led by Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross. Jerian Grant, Khem Birch, and Jarrell Martin are also on that list. Khem Birch has been linked to the Sixers so far this summer. Wesley Iwundu has a team option for 2019 and should return.

The Orlando Magic have nearly $84 million tied up in guaranteed salary. Timofey Mozgov is nearly making $17 million next season, which is hilarious. The Magic have $23 million in cap space this offseason with most or all of it going towards Vucevic and Ross. However, big decisions are there to be made. Do the Magic let Nikola walk, wait for Timofey/Fournier walk, and have massive cap space? The downside to that is the 2020 class is not looking so great. We shall see in the very future.

The Selection – Goga Bitazde

Goga Bitazde seems like a perfect fit for the Magic. He fits a position of need, and he’s got plenty of tools, something the Magic seem to find attractive with prospects. Bitadze is able to stretch the floor and has plenty of size to be a very good rebounder in the NBA. He can block shots and has a pretty legit midrange game.

Rookie Prediction

Goga Bitzade is one of the biggest wildcards in the NBA Draft. I’ve seen him as high as the lottery, as well as the second round. There aren’t many center prospects in this draft that have as many skillsets as Goga. In a league where pace-and-space is paramount, Goga seems to fit the bill in terms of being able to own the paint and hit from three.