It was a big night for the Orlando Magic organization as the team won the first selection in the NBA draft on Wednesday night.
Heading into the draft lottery, Orlando had the second-best chance to earn the top selection. After some lottery luck, the Magic found themselves with the No. 1 pick.
For a franchise that has been attempting to take the next step forward in their rebuild, it's a huge victory for the Magic and their fans. Orlando has attempted to add strategic pieces but has struggled to find that franchise-altering building block.
NBA analyst Zach Lowe believes the piece may finally be on its way. On ESPN's "NBA Today," Lowe said that for a franchise that has been "living in purgatory," Orlando has the potential to the find the centerpiece to get to the next level:
“Since Dwight Howard forced a trade (in 2012), they’ve just been living in purgatory.”
Orlando Magic win the NBA draft lottery
After months of anticipation, we now know who will be selecting first in the 2022 NBA draft.
Orlando had a strong draft a year ago, adding a pair of lottery selections in Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner. Both showed flashes of serious upside throughout their rookie years and looked to be pieces to build around.
The question will now turn into what direction the Magic will go on June 23, the night of the draft. This year's incoming crop of talent features a number of talented frontcourt players that should entice the Orlando front office.
One of those players is Gonzaga Bulldogs freshman big man Chet Holmgren. Although viewed by many as the top prospect in this class, Holmgren's thin frame has drawn plenty of doubters in draft circles.
One of the most gifted shot-blockers in recent draft history, Holmgren (7-foot, 195 pounds) has the potential to be a franchise-altering presence if he reaches his upside.
Other candidates for the top selection will include Auburn Tigers freshman forward Jabari Smith Jr. as well as Duke Blue Devils freshman Paolo Banchero.
Orlando has missed the playoffs in each of the past two seasons and eight of the past 10 seasons. The Magic made first-round appearances (and exits) in 2019 and 2020. Orlando hasn't won a playoff series since 2020.