ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic, holders of the third worst record of the NBA season, walked away from the NBA Draft Lottery with the 5th and 8th draft picks in the upcoming NBA Draft in June.
This can be looked at two different ways. One, the Magic lost in a sense because both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors jumped past them and took the third and fourth picks, however, the 8th back is the best possible outcome from the Chicago Bulls trade in which the Magic traded Nikola Vucevic and El Faruq Aminu.
The Detroit Pistons earned the No. 1 pick, followed by the Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors. Orlando was jumped in the lottery order by Cleveland (fifth) and Toronto (seventh).
Oklahoma City will follow Orlando at sixth, with Golden State getting the seventh pick (from Minnesota).
Two top eight picks is nothing to sneeze at, especially in such a high praised and loaded draft class. The trick is, since college basketball is coming off of a season with the least visibility ever due to the pandemic, many fans don’t know who’s available.
What was most entertaining about the broadcast of the picks was the instant reactions of the team representatives. Many of them seemed clueless that they were on camera. Swin Cash of the New Orleans Pelicans kind of sided and had a dissapointed look on her face, looking less than thrilled.
Orlando Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman did a controlled fist pump with news of the Magic getting Chicago’s with pick, but did not look happy with the fifth pick.
“Obviously, you go through a long season, and it’s been a grind, and you hope to cash in those chips at the end but that’s the nature of this (lottery) stuff. It’s like I’ve always said that it’s not a calculated risk. It’s just a risk. It’s just kind of dumb luck,” Weltman said. “You obviously want to win the lottery and come away with the number one pick, but I do think that there were two shots for us to get lucky tonight and we did get lucky on the other one, which is we walked away with two top-eight picks.”
“I do believe that there are some unique, very talented candidates to become the players that outperform that (draft) position,” Weltman said. “We’re very excited to be able to start to get to know those kids. We’ll begin that (workout) process when we get back from Chicago, and to have two of them (picks) is exciting for us.”