2022 NBA Draft Book: Magic introduces two rookies to Orlando, draft notes, and more

Magical day at City Beautiful for Banchero

The Orlando Magic introduced its two shiny new toys to local media on Friday afternoon, and as president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman often says, “it was a great day for the Orlando Magic.”

“We came into this draft looking to add skill, size, shooting, IQ, integrity (and) positional versatility,” Weltman told reporters on Friday. “And with these two young guys, I think we ticked all those boxes (and we’re really thrilled about that).”

Of course, Weltman and the rest of Orlando’s front office managed to pull off one hell of a surprise on draft night, opting to use the first overall pick on 6-10 forward Paolo Banchero, rather than the forward. ‘Auburn Jabari Smith Jr. (who was widely reported by many national media as the Magic’s targeted player). Banchero, a Seattle native, averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists as a freshman at Duke last season, leading them to the Final Four of the head coach’s senior year. Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski.

“Since day one, we’ve talked about IQ, character, versatility, a winning mindset constantly with our guys,” added Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley when introducing his new players. players. “he (Banchero) fits all of these things and more.”

Fans and members of the media weren’t the only ones deceived by the Orlando Magic’s target with the first pick. Banchero told the media on Friday that he was not even aware of Orlando’s intentions to sign him just before the pick was made.

Nathan Ray Seebeck – USA TODAY Sports

“I knew there was a chance,” Banchero told reporters, when asked if he knew he was going to be the first overall selection. “Me and Mike (agent) stayed in good communication throughout the day, and he was just telling me to stay ready and be ready. So that’s what I was doing, and then over time he was telling me just kept abreast of what was going on. So yeah, thirty seconds before the commissioner came on stage to announce the pick, he (Miller) looked at me and said congratulations.

The five-star forward’s former agent is none other than 17-year-old NBA veteran Mike Miller, who won two championships with the Miami Heat, was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2006 and NBA Rookie of the Year as a member of the Orlando Magic in 2001. The former Florida Gator was selected by Orlando fifth overall in 2000, and he is one of only two players to be named NBA Rookie of the Year in as a member of the Magic (the other being Shaquille O’Neal in ’93).

“I really want to match Mike and get a rookie of the year award in Orlando (if possible),” Banchero replied confidently when asked about his accomplished agent on Friday. “From the start, he just told me how much fun Orlando had been, how much he loved it and how much he loved the people here (and how he still has a great relationship here). He had fun here, and I’m just blessed to be here. It’s kind of funny how it all worked out.

Banchero is well aware that becoming the Orlando Magic’s No. in the NBA Finals. . Fortunately, he has an agent to lean on who has some experience as a rookie in City Beautiful.

“Certainly, there will be high expectations for myself. I’m going to stick to them, and everyone else is going to stick to them. But I feel like it’s nothing that I’m not into ( already) used to it. It was the same for me in college, all through high school, just a lot of expectations for me (my) whole life. So I’m just going to approach it the same way I I’ve always approached it. Just have fun with it, really buy into the team, and we’ll go from there.

With the 32nd overall pick (second round), the Magic selected Michigan winger Caleb Houstan. The Ontario, Canada native averaged 10.1 points and 4.0 rebounds as a rookie in Ann Arbor, MI last season. Houstan, who is the first second-round pick the Magic has fielded since 2018, led the Wolverines in three-point field goals (60 3PTM, 35.5%) in 2021-22. The 19-year-old is now the fourth player on Orlando’s roster to have played for the University of Michigan, joining Ignas Brazdeikis (two-way contract in 2020-21), Franz Wagner and Moritz Wagner.

Houstan mentioned Friday how thrilled he was to join the roster of young players the Magic have already built and how eager he is to grow his game alongside them.

At the end of the day on Friday, it was all about showcasing the future of the Orlando Magic to an excited and impatient fan base here at City Beautiful. And even some players were excited to meet their new teammates, including last year’s fifth selection Jalen Suggs, who sat (on the floor) at the front of the room.

“It’s been pretty hectic, the last twenty-four hours. I ran around a lot, draft day was crazy,” Banchero admitted, his parents sitting across from the media room. “The whole experience, it’s definitely something I’ll never forget – I enjoyed it. I’m lucky to be in Orlando, and I’m just happy to be here.

A kind of homecoming for Houstan

Even though the home of Caleb Houstan, the newly drafted 32nd overall pick from Orlando, is more than 1,700 miles away in Mississauga, Ont., the Canadian native felt comfortable Friday in familiar surroundings.

The 6-8 wing played three seasons at high school at Montverde Academy in Central Florida. At Montverde Academy, Houstan played with NBA players Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, Moses Moody and Day’Ron Sharpe. In three seasons at Montverde, Houstan’s teams have won a total of 68 games.

“Definitely a good feeling (you know) to be back in the Orlando area,” Houstan told reporters on Friday, when asked to return to Central Florida to begin his professional career and how his time at Montverde Academy prepared him for the NBA. . “Obviously I know him very well, having been at Montverde for so long. So yeah, just being there really helped me a lot. Just playing against the physique and athleticism of the guys who are in the NBA now, and playing against them every day. I think it was the best thing for me. I think you learn what works (and what doesn’t), so this definitely helped me a lot – more than I can explain.

NBA: Orlando Magic press conference

Nathan Ray Seebeck – USA TODAY Sports

In 2021, the five-star recruit (who reclassified to the Class of 21) was named a McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic entrant. He was also named ESPN’s top ten in the Class of 2021. He ultimately opted to go to Michigan, where he started all 34 games last season for the Wolverines.

Houstan has a long way to go as he continues to develop his overall game, but he can at least start his journey somewhere familiar.

“I’m really enjoying the moment,” Houstan told reporters when asked about his draft day experience. “There was a lot of excitement last night, a lot of emotions. I’m really happy to have finished here, with a very good organization. I can’t wait to start.

Aaron’s Draft Notes

Paolo Banchero, striker (6-10/250)
1st overall choice
Rating: A

The Magic set the tone for the night, surprising many in the league by taking Banchero over Smith Jr. I had the top three perceived prospects in this class (Banchero, Smith Jr. and Chet Holmgren) pretty even throughout along my pre-project evaluation period. Of course, Smith was the only prospect Orlando made available to the media ahead of the draft, following his private training with the organization in early June. Banchero is not believed to have ever worked individually for the Magic prior to Thursday night’s NBA draft, although Weltman told reporters Thursday night that he and Banchero had met “several times” over Zoom.

I really thought Smith Jr. was going to be the pick for Orlando, because of his sharpshooting prowess, to go along with his positional size and defensive edge. And I know a few others who never stopped believing that Holmgren wasn’t in the game to go to Orlando at number one because of his defensive acumen, incredible instincts and massive length. But in the end, it was Banchero who was caught. For many years it has been recognized that the Magic is more than capable of gathering good players here or there, but all this time they were essentially lacking that. a generational franchisee (like an O’Neal, a Howard, etc.). The Magic feel like Banchero has tons of upside (despite how ready he is already for the NBA, physically), and think the Pacific Northwest big man just might be the next big player in franchise.

Caleb Houstan, winger (6-8/205)
32nd pick overall
Grade: B+

There may have been a few players I liked a little bit more than Houstan at this stage of the draft (Jaylin Williams, Gabriele Procida, Kennedy Chandler and Jaden Hardy), which is why I only gave the choice a ‘B+’. In the Big Ten, Houstan has had a somewhat difficult competitive season (after upgrading from c/o 2022), shooting just 38.4% from the field. But still, I think round two is an appropriate time to take a chance on a long wing with such size as Houstan has.

Houstan has already enjoyed a relatively decorated career playing in FIBA ​​international events for his native Canada. In 2019, Houstan averaged 22.8 points per game, leading Canada to a silver medal at the FIBA ​​U16 Americas Championship. And then in 2021, Houstan led Canada again – this time to a bronze medal – at the FIBA ​​U19 Basketball World Cup (17.0 points per game). If the Magic can grow even close to that type of player at the NBA level, then obviously that pick will yield tons of value.

Aaron Goldstone has been writing for the Orlando Pinstriped Post since 2017. You can follow him on Twitter at @AaronGoldstone.

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