Orlando Orlando, with the last of three first round picks, is next.  Their GM for this pick is Steve Kelly.  Orlando selects:

Erick Barkley, PG, 6'0", St. John's

I. Draft History: 

After taking Shaquille O'Neal in '92 and Anfernee Hardaway in '93, the Orlando Magic draft has been anything but sensational. 

94: Brooks Thompson 27th. 

95: David Vaughn 25th 

96: Brian Evans 27th 

97: Johnny Taylor 17th 

98: Michael Doleac 12th , Matt Harpring 15th. 

99: Corey Maggette 13th , from Seattle.

II. Team Needs: 

The Magic need help at every position. Their strongest position is the guard although because of free agency may leave it depleted. I believe like most all teams, the Magic especially need help in the frontcourt. They are approximately 18 million under the salary cap coming into the summer which they will likely try to upgrade their big men. 

III. Analysis: 

Centers: Michael Doleac, John Amaechi

Michael Doleac had a very promising rookie campaign in '98, he dropped off greatly last season. At times he seemed to lose confidence in his offense which in turn affected him defensively. He has good size and a nice outside shot and should return to form this season with the coaching of Doc Rivers. John Amaechi was a complete surprise to Doc Rivers' staff. He was signed for the league minimum and was an unknown talent to most in the NBA. Amaechi has a soft touch and is surprisingly nimble around the basket. He is one of many Magic free agents this off- season and John Gabriel will do everything possible to resign him. 

Power Forwards: Ben Wallace, Pat Garrity, Derek Strong

Ben Wallace: Was acquired in a trade as part of the deal that sent Ike Austin to the Wizards. Has been a tremendous asset for the team defensively. Wallace doesn't score much but has great defensive and shot blocking skills. He is another free agent that the team will try to resign. Pat Garrity: Acquired in the Penny Hardaway deal to Phoenix, Garrity has been a nice offensive boost as Orlando's best three-point specialist. The knock on Garrity is his defense. Although listed as 6'9", he is easily pushed around by opposing big men, and not very quick on his feet. Probably better suited to be a SF. Derek Strong: Strong was a nice complimentary player two seasons ago and looked to have a good future with the team, but seemed to fall out of favor with Chuck Daly and now also with Doc Rivers last year. His knock is lack of intensity in practice. The Magic will likely try to trade Strong if able. 

Small Forwards: Bo Outlaw, Matt Harpring, Monty Williams, Johnny Taylor. 

Bo Outlaw: Is a tremendously gifted athlete and works as hard as anyone in the league. While an asset defensively, Outlaw is another offense deprived big man. He is another free agent whom the Magic will most certainly resign. Matt Harpring: A gritty, hard-nosed player who can score from the perimeter and can defend as well as anyone on the team. Last season after just four games into his second season, Harpring was sidelined for the year after a pre-season injury failed to heal. If healthy, Harpring will be a key piece to the Magic in 2000. Monty Williams: Williams has been with several teams in his short career and hopes to stay on with Orlando. He is an adequate back-up with good energy off the bench and has surprisingly quick moves around the basket. He is another free agent and will likely resign for the league minimum. Johnny Taylor: Once drafted by the Magic in '97, was reacquired this year in the same deal that brought Mercer from Denver. Although once promising, as a free agent will likely be gone. 

Shooting Guards: Ron Mercer, Corey Maggette, Anthony Johnson. Ron Mercer: 

Mercer was acquired in the trade that sent Abdul-Wahad and Gatling to Denver for Mercer and Chauncey Billups. Ron is a nice offensive player and is much better defensively than his reputation had led on. The knock on Mercer is being a one-dimensional jump- shooter, which is probably a little unfair. Mercer is a free agent this summer and will likely test the market. Corey Maggette: He is as athletic as they come. Although leaving a Duke team where he was sixth man, he was chosen thirteenth in the draft. Maggette is a strong leaper, with good rebounding skills, and as quick as anyone on the team. He is young and will take time to develop his game but looks to be the future of the Magic. Anthony Johnson: Was an adequate addition to the team last year but is also a free agent this off-season and will likely not be retained. 

Point Guards: Darrell Armstrong, Chucky Atkins, Chauncey Billups. 

Darrell Armstrong: The heart of the team. Armstrong has been a favorite of fans and coaches alike for four years. He has good quickness and a nice shot. Although originally undrafted and undersized, he has worked his way up through the ranks of European leagues and the CBA to become one of the most exciting players in the league. Chucky Atkins: Another tremendous find for Coach Rivers. Atkins a local high school product of Orlando had also played outside the NBA since coming out of college. He is a quick player with decent ball- handling skills and a nice outside shot. Although a free agent, the team will try to retain him. Chauncey Billups: Although a third pick in 1997, Billups has been disappointing since. Once touted as a point guard is actually more suited to play the 2. Is a free agent and is likely going to be living somewhere else next year. 

IV. My Selection: 

Erick Barkley, PG, St. Johns's. 

I selected Barkley from St. John's because the Magic desperately need a young point guard who can back-up Armstrong. Especially with the uncertainty of Chucky Atkins future with the team, I felt Barkley's quickness and scoring are the best of any point guards in the draft. While only a Sophomore in college, many scouts compare his game to that of Stephon Marbury. While his game may not be as far along as Marbury's was coming into the draft, he played well in the tournament and has equally impressed in the camps since. 

V. Others considered: 

Mateen Cleaves: PG, Michigan State, led the Spartans to Championship. Has superior leadership skills, questionable scorer. 

Jamal Crawford: PG, Michigan. Just a Freshman but had a decent year. Very athletic and has impressed in the camps. 

Keyon Dooling: PG, Missouri. Another very quick player with much upside. Good hands and many figure him to be the best PG in the draft. 

DeShawn Stevenson: SG, High School. Has been compared to Michael Jordan coming out of high school. That may be a little ridiculous but the kid has a 44" vertical leap and a nice jumpshot. He is said to be very mature with a high basketball IQ. 

VI. Team's Likely Selection: 

Because of the Magic's plethora of draft picks and near league worse ball handling last year, will likely have them select a point guard at this position. Again I believe the four most likely choices at that position are Barkley, Cleaves, Dooling, and Crawford. If the Magic don't go with a point guard expect them to take the best athlete still available or possibly trade the pick. 

VII. Team Direction: 

The Orlando Magic should try in this offseason to go after the big 4: Duncan, Hill, McGrady, and E. Jones. While it is rumored that Duncan will sign a one-year deal in S.A. and that Hill will likely do the same in Detroit, there is still that possibility that they would try to play together, somewhere, whether it be in S.A., Detroit, or even Orlando. The Magic should go after both of these players and when their status is decided should go after the other two and try to re-sign most of their own F.A.s. Although I would love to see McGrady and E. Jones in a Magic uniform, I would not give either player the maximum salary. If the price is too high use the draft to rebuild and keep the cash, because Duncan and Hill might become available again soon.

Craig Simpson - Usenet Draft Commissioner
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