For the Orlando Magic, the next few days will be an important step in a month-long process that culminates with the NBA draft on June 23.
The NBA draft combination, which takes place Wednesday through Friday at Chicago’s Wintrust Arena, gives the Magic their most comprehensive look, up to this point, on the prospects they’re considering picking in the June 23 draft.
The combination is more than just physical measurements, healing, on-court drills and scuffles – although this information is helpful.
During the season, teams are allowed to explore prospects, but are not allowed to approach them.
Like most teams that haven’t already started hosting pre-draft workouts, this will be the first opportunity for Coalition Magic to interview and interact face-to-face with prospects.
It gives him a chance to get to know the possibility just as a basketball player.
This can go a long way in determining who gets invited to workout at the team’s facility or who is higher on the team’s draft board.
Teams are allowed to interview a maximum of 20 players in the combine, while each player is allowed to interview a maximum of 13 teams. Just because Magic didn’t interview anyone at the Combine doesn’t mean they aren’t interested or won’t choose them in the draft.
Every top prospect – from Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga) and Jabari Smith (Auburn) to Paolo Banchero (Duke) and Jaden Ivey (Purdue) – will be present.
That matters to Magic, who will once again top this year’s draft.
While most players who are expected to move higher in the draft typically don’t participate in all drills and rarely scuffle, those off-court interactions are part of the intel that will be taken into the Magic Draft. Will consider
The Magic also have second round picks (numbers 32 and 35).
While Orlando has a tendency to trade their second-round picks under President of Basketball Operations Jeff Veltman, the alliance will help Magic gather the necessary information to see if one of them – or both – will make a difference. If find the chances are worth keeping they prefer outside the first round.
There is also the possibility that they may try to trade those likes to another team in order to reach the back end of the first round, among other possibilities.
Tuesday night’s draft lottery helped clarify each team’s position.
Teams also use this period to collect information about other organizations, such as information about the players they are interested in receiving, their own players with whom they will be doing business, and information about their lottery status. How are they feeling about and if they want to move their choice.
These conversations matter to Magic as they continue to build a foundation with their young core.
The alliance, however, is not the be-all and end-all.
Predraft workouts and upcoming interviews allow teams to get a better look at the players under their roofs.
Veltman recalled meeting Wendell Carter Jr. for the first time during the predraft process and made a strong and friendly first impression. Magic traded him for three years later, nearly three years after he was passed out in the 2018 draft.
Intel continues to be assembled after initial contact, making the coalition a springboard for the upcoming draft over the course of the next month and beyond.