The Orlando Magic, owners of the Nos. 1, 32 and 35 picks in the NBA draft, will have multiple chances to add to their roster on June 23.
After kicking off a rebuild in March 2021, the Magic already have significant young talent. Orlando has nine players who were drafted in the first round since 2017 signed to contracts for the 2022-23 season.
Nonetheless, the Magic have clear needs after finishing 2021-22 with a 22-60 record.
As the roster stands, Orlando needs a 3-and-D wing/forward — with an emphasis on reliable 3-point shooting — who has good size and length for their position. The Magic also could use another big/center, depending on what happens with Mo Bamba’s restricted free agency.
After taking a step forward in their pre-draft evaluations during the mid-May NBA draft combine in Chicago, the Magic are hosting prospects for workouts ahead of the draft.
This story is part of a series on players the Magic either interviewed or worked out in Orlando:
Kai Sotto (Adelaide 36ers — Australian NBL)
Height: 7-foot-3 | Weight: 240 pounds | Age: 20 | Wingspan: 7-foot-5
2021-22 averages: 7.5 points (50% from the field — 51.4% on 2s, 38.5% on 3s) and 4.5 rebounds.
Connection: Worked out for the Magic on May 26
Note: Just because a player is working out for a team doesn’t mean they’re a target to be drafted. A team not working out a prospect also doesn’t mean they won’t draft them. Six pre-draft prospects are allowed on the court at a time and aren’t allowed on the court with NBA players. Some players sought feedback from NBA teams ahead of the June 1 deadline college players had to decide whether they would stay in the draft or withdraw and keep any remaining collegiate eligibility. Players have until the June 13 deadline to withdraw their names from the draft and retain draft eligibility for a future year, which is especially important for international players such as Sotto and other non-college prospects.
The buzz: Sotto, a former 4-star prospect from the Philippines, signed with the G League Ignite in May 2020 for the 2020-21 season but didn’t play a game for them because of his obligations to the Philippine national team. He and the G League Ignite officially parted ways in February 2021. Sotto signed with the 36ers in April 2021, winning the NBL’s Fan MVP after the 2021-22 season ended before declaring for the NBA draft.
Scouting report: A mobile big man who has a growing face-up game offensively. Most of his offensive usage came as a roll man in the pick-and-roll or as a cutter. A solid passer, especially for his size, but recorded more turnovers (1.3) than assists (0.5). Made a high percentage of his 3-point attempts, but on low volume (5 of 13 in 23 games). Could become a good rim protector (1.9 blocks per 36 minutes), but needs to become more disciplined (6.4 fouls per 36 minutes) and work on his lateral quickness.
Fit: Sotto fits the mold of players the Magic have shown an affinity for — tall, lanky big men who have the potential to showcase versatile skillsets. Jonathan Isaac, Mo Bamba and Bol Bol are examples of players who fit that billing. Sotto appears to be behind that trio when they were drafted development-wise. He isn’t projected to be drafted but could make an intriguing option for Orlando’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, if he isn’t drafted and doesn’t return to the 36ers.