The NBA draft lottery has come and gone, with all of the expected pomp and fanfare that was expected. After the Detroit Pistons dropped down and the San Antonio Spurs rose to the top slot alongside the Portland Trail Blazers and the Charlotte Hornets, teams started to scramble to reconfigure their respective draft boards and consider a trade up in the draft.
Unless a team is offering a player like Luka Doncic or Giannis Antetokounmpo, there isn’t a trade package out there that would entice the Spurs to trade the top pick in this year’s draft and miss out on a chance to add Victor Wembanyama. Instead, both Charlotte and Portland are clumsy fits with Scoot Henderson, a consensus top-three player who could give a number of teams a franchise point guard.
Outside of Henderson, players like Jarace Walker, Brandon Miller, and Amen Thompson will be heavily considered for the top slots in the draft. The Hornets, with so many holes on their roster, may feel that they are better served by taking multiple bites at the apple. On the other hand, the Blazers are concerned with contending in the short term, which likely means that the third pick is up for sale.
While not every team has the necessary ammunition to move up in the draft, there are a handful of teams armed with enough draft capital to either move into the top rung of the draft or to make some other minor moves to secure a premiere talent outside of the upper echelon of prospects.
Trade Up Candidate #1: Orlando Magic: Picks #6, #11, #36
Overall, the Orlando Magic can’t be that mad that they didn’t have more lottery luck. After all, they had the right bounces last year to shoot up to the top pick in the 2022 NBA draft to select Paolo Banchero, who became the NBA rookie of the year while helping the Magic win twelve more games than they did last year.
With both Banchero and Franz Wagner stepping into star roles, Wendell Carter Jr. manning the middle, and a gaggle of interesting guard prospects like Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, and Cole Anthony, the Magic have enough of an infrastructure to possibly push for the play-in tournament as soon as next year if everything breaks right.
If the team wants to contend for a title one day, however, they may want to consolidate their assets and push their chips in for another star young player. The team was 24th in three-point percentage and 26th in assists per game this past season, which shows the massive hole that the team has a point guard:
Although there are some depth issues at forward and on the wing, it’s easier to fill those holes in than it is to find a franchise player. If the Charlotte Hornets don’t feel strongly about pairing Scoot Henderson with LaMelo Ball and are more enamored with adding some combination of Jarace Walker, Cam Whitmore, Taylor Hendricks, Gradey Dick, and Keyonte George, to name a few prospects in that range, they could bite on an all-in package from Orlando.
If the Magic trade up, they would suddenly have one of the best young cores in the entire NBA with Henderson, Banchero, and Wagner. All three players could one day have an all-star ceiling, which few other rebuilding teams could say, while also being built to make the playoffs in the next few years due to the rest of the role players on the roster.