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:
Jabari Smith Jr. (Auburn);
Height: 6-foot-10 | Weight: 220 pounds | Age: 19 | Wingspan: 7-foot-1
2021-22 averages: 16.9 points (42.9% from the field — 43.5% on 2s, 42% on 3s), 7.4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.1 steals and 1 block.
Connection: Worked out for the Magic on June 9
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’ll stay in the draft or withdraw and keep any remaining collegiate eligibility.
The buzz: Son of former NBA player Jabari Smith Sr., Smith was a McDonald’s All-American and 5-star out of Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Ga. 247Sports ranked Smith as the No. 7 player nationally in the 2021 recruiting class. Smith scored in double figures in 29 of 34 games. He was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year, a member of the All-SEC first team and a second-team All American.
Scouting report: Elite shooter, especially for his size. Doesn’t need a lot of space to get his jumper off. Consistently made shots when tightly contested. Shoots over most defenders because of his size and high release point. Good pull-up shooter from mid-range and beyond the arc, especially in transition or when only needing to take 1-2 dribbles. Effective from the elbows and the post with jab steps, fadeaways and turnaround jumpers. Will be effective coming off screens and as a pick and popper. Defensively, moves hit feet well laterally to cut off drives. Should be switchable. Length allows him to recover well if beaten off the dribble. Makes the right rotations as an off-ball defender. Stays vertical when contesting and strong enough to guard in the post.
Struggles to create separation. Settles for jumpers often. Needs a quicker first step to get by defenders. Too upright as a ball handler and was stripped easily since his handles aren’t tight or fluid.
Fit: Smith’s best offensive skill — shooting — is an area the Magic need to improve. Orlando’s 33.1% 3-point percentage during 2021-22 was the league’s third-worst mark. Smith, who’s expected to be a top-three pick, would instantly help make life easier for the Magic’s playmakers in the half-court. He’d also help make them more versatile defensively. Frontcourt combinations of Franz Wagner, Chuma Okeke, Wendell Carter Jr., Smith and Bamba — if he returns — would be able to switch more and play multiple coverages without sacrificing size.
This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.