First, a begrudging congratulations to the Miami Heat for winning the 2013 NBA Championship. That seven-game series was an absolute classic series capped off by a fantastic Game Seven. There is a lot of great stuff out there, but I will promote my own writing and direct you to Crossover Chronicles for my recap of Game Seven.
The best part about today is that everybody is 0-0 and the chase for the 2014 championship has begun.
That journey starts Thursday in Brooklyn with the NBA Draft. Orlando, as we all know, will be selecting second in that Draft and have an incredibly interesting decision.
This year's NBA Draft is wide open. There is no consensus No. 1 pick with the Cavaliers apparently bouncing between Nerlens Noel, Victor Oladipo, Alex Len and Ben McLemore. Pushing aside the thoughts of drafting a center -- it is still possible the Magic draft Nerlens Noel should the Cavaliers pass on him -- or a point guard, Oladipo and McLemore seem to be the two guys at shooting guard the Magic can focus on.
There are plenty of arguments for and against selecting McLemore or Oladipo or rank ordering them as shooting guards in this draft class. The only decision that matters is Rob Hennigan's.
And the latest reports could lead some to believe that Hennigan is beginning to favor Oladipo over McLemore.
According to a report from Chad Ford of ESPN.com, who has had the Magic taking Oladipo in his mock draft for several weeks now, Ben McLemore has not impressed in his workouts and the Magic are favoring taking the versatile Oladipo over the sharpshooter McLemore.
Oladipo and Ben McLemore are widely seen as the two best fits in Orlando. While McLemore might have more pure upside, I continue to hear that Oladipo has the upper hand. McLemore was in Orlando last week, but according to multiple accounts, his workout wasn't terrific.
It is, of course, hard to tell this close to the Draft what is real and what is a smokescreen. It is well known that the Magic (and the Cavaliers for that matter) are in discussions with teams lower in the Draft about the possibility of swapping picks. Nothing is ever set in stone with the Draft until David Stern walks across that stage and reads the pick.
The reports though that McLemore did not have a good workout should give plenty of pause however. The Magic have made it pretty well known what kind of culture they want to build and they are not about to bring in a player who does not have the right attitude and embed in his culture.
Of course, it coudl all just be a smoke screen for one reason or another. The Magic have done a very good job keeping everything tight and not having a lot of information released to the press. It is hard to gauge what their thoughts are on any player at this point.
Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld, who has the Magic taking Ben McLemore in his latest mock draft, talked to McLemore himself and McLemore disputes these reports, describing himself as a "workaholic."
Ben McLemore will only work out for three teams before the draft: the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns. In recent days, there have been a number of reports about McLemore’s draft stock slipping due to a poor work ethic (among other things).
I spoke with McLemore over the phone on Tuesday afternoon and he had no idea where that was coming from. “I’m a workaholic,” McLemore said with a laugh. “I like to be in the gym. Sometimes, it’s hard for them to get me out of the gym, because I’m always trying to improve. My mindset is that I want to be great. I don’t just want to be good. With my mindset, athleticism and work ethic, I can be great.”
Believe what you want to believe at this time of the year. The Magic are going to be weighing a lot when it is their turn to pick about 10 minutes into the NBA Draft broadcast Thursday. They could still go in a completely different direction.