Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Aaron Gordon (Arizona) poses for a photo with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number four overall pick to the Orlando Magic in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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Few teams have fared better at the NBA Draft Lottery than the Orlando Magic. Tuesday night, Orlando is hoping to land the first overall pick for the fourth time in the franchise’s 28-year history.
The 2016-17 NBA season was supposed to be a turning point for the Orlando Magic.
Absent from the postseason for four consecutive seasons, and cycling through three different head coaches since shipping out Dwight Howard, Orlando was expecting to turn a roster featuring young and talented players into a playoff contender.
General manager Rob Hennigan even attempted to transition the franchise out of rebuilding mode by hiring Frank Vogel as head coach and trading for Serge Ibaka.
Only the team struggled at the beginning of the year, dropping 11 of its first 17 games on the way to a 29-53 performance. Ibaka was dealt away to Toronto at the trade deadline and immediately at the conclusion of the season, Hennigan was relieved of his duties.
The Magic tabbed Matt Lloyd as interim general manager while the team searches for a successor to Hennigan. Lloyd, an assistant general manager in Orlando since 2012, remains in consideration for the position, while Orlando searches for a permanent replacement.
No matter who is making the selection for the Magic on June 22, proper preparation for the draft won’t begin until Tuesday night, when the team finds out exactly where it will be choosing.
Orlando finished with the fifth-worst record in the NBA last season, meaning it has the fifth-best odds to land the first overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft.
The selection odds for the Orlando Magic at the 2017 NBA Draft lottery are as follows:
Orlando is hoping for some luck on lottery night, something that has actually escaped the franchise each of the past five years.
The Magic has landed the first overall selection three times, the second most any team has won since the lottery was implemented in 1985 (the Cleveland Cavaliers have won five times) and is the franchise other than Cleveland to win the right to select first overall in consecutive seasons.
The lottery night in Orlando has been so prolific that ESPN even released a documentary examining the impact of the team following its success at the 1992 and 1993 NBA Draft Lotteries.
Luck on draft night has dried up for Orlando over the past four years, as it actually moved back three consecutive seasons while still landing a top-5 overall pick from 2013-15.
Last season, the team finished with the 11th-worst record in the league and its position in the draft remained stagnant following the draft lottery.
In addition to its own lottery selection, the Magic are interested to see where the Lakers will be picking. If Los Angeles lands a top-three selection, Orlando will acquire the 33rd overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
If the Lakers fall out of the top three, however, Orlando will received Los Angeles’ 2019 first round pick.
Along with a potential early second round selection from Los Angeles, the Magic will select 25th and 35th overall.
Accumulating talent is necessary for a team that has totaled 132 victories over the past five seasons, eight fewer than Golden State has compiled over the past two years.
A year ago, the Magic selected Domatis Sabonis with the 11th overall pick, but included him, along with Oladipo, in the deal with Oklahoma City for Serge Ibaka.
The team suffered further embarrassment when an image of a whiteboard detailing potential roster additions in free agency was accidentally leaked by an agent, Carlos Prunes, tweeting out a picture of his client, Patricio Garino, signing a contract with the team.
The players listed in the picture primarily were able to fluctuate between either forward position, an indication that the team may be willing to select a college prospect from any position next month.
The top two prospects in the 2017 NBA Draft class — Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball — both play point guard and could be brought in to compete with Elfrid Payton for the starting position.
Josh Jackson of Kansas, Duke’s Jayson Tatum and Jonathan Isaac of Florida State all provide similar versatility as the players outlined on the whiteboard.