Wednesday , Jun , 23 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Orlando Magic 2004 Draft Preview

(Sports Network) – The Magic have the first pick in this year’s draft
and will be looking for a player who can help brighten the future of
basketball in Orlando.

Orlando needs the No. 1 pick to be a successful selection. Rumors of a
trade with Houston, which will send superstar Tracy McGrady and other Magic
players to the Rockets for Steve Francis and others seems to be imminent.

Without the talented McGrady in the fold, Orlando has a chance to satisfy its
fan base with the best player that the draft has to offer. The Magic also have
to be running out of hope for the return of a healthy Grant Hill.

The Magic, who lost 19 straight after winning their season opener against the
New York Knicks, finished last season with a brutal 21-61 record. Orlando
fired head coach Doc Rivers in the midst of the losing streak and replaced him
with assistant and current general Johnny Davis.

A new era in basketball is going to start in Orlando. How the Magic re-shape
their roster without McGrady will be an interesting thing to see. After all,
McGrady did average 28 points last season, and was basically a one-man show
for Orlando.

Connecticut’s Emeka Okafor should be the pick for Orlando. He will be able to
step right in and give the Magic an inside presence who can block shots and
score around the basket. Okafor should help make McGrady a happy player.

However, do not rule out the Magic selecting high school sensation Dwight
Howard. There are concerns about Okafor’s back which could make Orlando shy
away from picking the Connecticut product. It is a toss up as to who will be
the No. 1 pick.

Key Player(s): Drew Gooden (forward), Juwan Howard (forward), Tracy McGrady
(forward/guard), DeShawn Stevenson (forward).

Team Needs: Toughness down low, a shot blocker and a point guard.

Draft picks: 1st round (1st overall), 2nd round (30th overall), 2nd round
(36th overall), 2nd round (42nd overall).