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A steal and a sensible selection, two high draft picks move Magic forward

Magic rookies Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 15: A behind the scenes photo of Franz Wagner #21 and Franz Wagner #21 of the Orlando Magic during 2021 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot on August 15, 2021 at UNLV Campus in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Miranda Alam/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

This year’s NBA draft featured four players who’d go top two in an average draft.

The Magic got one with the No. 5 pick.

Jalen Suggs could be Orlando’s first draft pick who turns into a star in Orlando since Dwight Howard. Considering how often the Magic picked in the lottery until the previous couple years, that’s a substantial drought.

Orlando pivoted into rebuilding last season just in time to tank deep enough for Suggs and get the No. 8 pick – used on Franz Wagner – from the Bulls (for Nikola Vucevic).

As nice of a jolt Suggs and Wagner provide, there are no guarantees. The recent history of teams getting two top-eight picks in the same draft shows mixed results:


  • Magic in 2021: No. 5 Jalen Suggs, No. 8 Franz Wagner
  • Pelicans in 2019: No. 1 Zion Williamson, No. 8 Jaxson Hayes
  • Suns in 2016: No. 4 Dragan Bender, No. 8 Marquese Chriss
  • Cavaliers in 2011: No. 1 Kyrie Irving, No. 4 Tristan Thompson
  • Timberwolves in 2009: No. 5 Ricky Rubio, No. 6 Jonny Flynn
  • SuperSonics in 2007: No. 2 Kevin Durant, No. 5 Jeff Green
  • Trail Blazers in 2006: No. 2 LaMarcus Aldridge, No. 6 Brandon Roy
  • Bulls in 2004: No. 3 Ben Gordon, No. 7 Luol Deng
  • Nuggets in 2002: No. 5 Nikoloz Tskitishvili, No. 7 Nene Hilario
  • Bulls in 2001: No. 2 Tyson Chandler, No. 4 Eddy Curry
  • Bulls in 2000: No. 4 Marcus Fizer, No. 8 Jamal Crawford

Part of moving on from its 2019 and 2020 playoff appearances, Orlando parted with win-now coach Steve Clifford and hired Jamahl Mosley. A first-time NBA head coach, Mosley should have opportunity to grow into the job with his young roster.

The Magic signed a few veterans: Robin Lopez (one year, $5 million), E’Twaun Moore (minimum) and Moritz Wagner (minimum). Orlando already has Wendell Carter Jr. and Mo Bamba at center. So, presumably, Lopez’ main role will be veteran mentor. Moore could do the same – and maybe fetch a second-rounder before the trade deadline. Moritz Wagner might specifically aid the transition of his younger brother, Franz Wagner.

Franz Wagner is a nice prospect. He plays sharp defense, can handle and pass the ball at 6-foot-9 and maybe shoot 3-pointers.

But Suggs is the real prize of the Magic’s offseason.

The point guard plays with a tenacity and athleticism that evokes Jason Kidd and Russell Westbrook. Odds are against Suggs reaching that Hall of Fame level. But Orlando ought to feel great about getting a prospect of his caliber with the No. 5 pick

Offseason grade: B