The Orlando Magic, owners of the Nos. 1, 32 and 35 picks in the NBA draft, will have multiple chances to add to their roster on June 23.
After kicking off a rebuild in March 2021, the Magic already have significant young talent. Orlando has nine players who were drafted in the first round since 2017 signed to contracts for the 2022-23 season.
Nonetheless, the Magic have clear needs after finishing 2021-22 with a 22-60 record.
As the roster stands, Orlando needs a 3-and-D wing/forward — with an emphasis on reliable 3-point shooting — who has good size and length for their position. The Magic also could use another big/center, depending on what happens with Mo Bamba’s restricted free agency.
After taking a step forward in their pre-draft evaluations during the mid-May NBA draft combine in Chicago, the Magic are hosting prospects for workouts ahead of the draft.
This story is part of a series on players the Magic either interviewed or worked out in Orlando:
Jabari Walker (Colorado)
Height: 6-foot-8 | Weight: 213 pounds | Age: 19 | Wingspan: 6-foot-10 3/4
2021-22 averages: 14.6 points (46.1% from the field — 51% on 2s, 34.6% on 3s), 9.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists.
Connection: Worked out for the Magic on June 4
Note: Just because a player is working out for a team doesn’t mean they’re a target to be drafted. A team not working out a prospect also doesn’t mean they won’t draft them. Six pre-draft prospects are allowed on the court at a time and aren’t allowed on the court with NBA players. Some players sought feedback from NBA teams ahead of the June 1 deadline college players had to decide whether they’ll stay in the draft or withdraw and keep any remaining collegiate eligibility.
The buzz: Son of former NBA player Samaki Walker, Walker was named to the Pac-12 All-freshman team for the 2020-21 season after averaging 7.6 points (52.6% shooting — 52.8% on 2s, 52.3% on 3s) and 4.3 rebounds. He was named first-team All-Pac-12 this past season after leading the Buffaloes in points and rebounds. Projected to be drafted late in the second round.
Scouting report: Big, athletic combo forward who should be able to guard 2-4. Quick enough to guard most perimeter players in space, long enough to recover and contest most shots and strong to defend bigger forwards. Should thrive as a one-on-one defender. Good help defender and weak-side rim protector. Made 59 of his 148 3-pointers (39.9%) in college, including 43.5% in his final 18 games. Good outside shooter when his feet are set but will need to improve shooting off movement and coming off screens. He’ll also need to be more consistent shooting from beyond the arc — shot 21.4% in the first 15 games of his sophomore season. Can improve as a driver, self creator and playmaker.
Fit: Walker would likely have to battle Chuma Okeke and Franz Wagner for playing time. The ability to play either forward spot would help him get more time on the floor since the Magic have several players who’ll play power forward. Orlando would need him to improve shooting versatility and consistency so he could help open up the floor for its playmakers.
This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.