Magic fans are used to being disappointed, but this one takes the cake. Earlier this Tuesday night, the lottery decided Orlando would pick sixth in the 2017 NBA Draft. Obviously, a higher pick could have been more beneficial, but you hope for the best and make due with what you get. Still, it's a good thing this upcoming draft is loaded with a plethora of talent. One talent the Magic should definitely have their eyes on is point guard Dennis Smith.
First things first, Orlando needs a franchise face. They are surrounded by good and solid role players, with some potential on their backs. However, that alone won't get you a lot of wins, that's for sure. You need a star. So considering the Magic are unlikely to sign a big free agent this summer, it looks like they have to draft wisely this time around. Smith is projected to be around the 5th to 10th pick range, so this could happen realistically.
Second of all, he's exactly the player Orlando needs. Elfrid Payton is a decent point guard, but just isn't enough on a consistent basis. The Magic need offense badly. Someone who can run the floor, and score in a variety of ways. Smith is just that guy. While in NC State, he averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists, and 1.9 steals. His strengths include his explosive athleticism, the ability to drive to the hoop/draw fouls, and his willingness to pass. He's also a quick decision maker, who plays solid defense most of the time, and has the making to be a great leader.
If there was a shopping list for the Magic, everything Dennis Smith possesses would be on that list. He fits the bill and could ease right into the lineup. However, he's not perfect. There are a few concerns that could use an alert. While Smith is a capable shooter, it could use some work without a doubt. Especially his free throw shooting, which was only 71.5 percent in his first college season. Smith could also be a little too relaxed on defense at times. Although, the one thing that could be the most concerning is his previous ACL injury. It was back in his high school days, but it's still something you hope doesn't come back to bite in the future.
Regardless of his weaknesses he still has an All-Star caliber profile. A few days ago, Orlando actually had a workout session with him. His NC State squad actually didn't do that well, as they had a 16-17 record. Here's what Smith had to say about that.
“I learned how to bounce back after a loss,” Smith told Orlando Magic Daily. “That was my first losing season ever since I started playing basketball. I know you are not going to win every game, especially in an 82-game season. I think last year was a great experience for me.”
He's also said he's not afraid to back down from anybody, so right off the bat, he's got the right attitude and mentality. The Magic want players who can build a good culture, and Smith seems to be just that. There's going to be plenty more workouts and interviews Orlando will do, to make sure they won't waste their sixth pick. Nevertheless, Dennis Smith should be on their radar for a better future.