Wednesday Notebook: Will Magic Use Both Picks, ACC Fight, MLB Cheating

2022 NBA Draft

Photo: Getty Images

So the Magic apparently had the first three numbers in the combination for the NBA Lottery but the fourth and final number didn't match and so the team saw San Antonio land another generational player and keep Greg Popovich, at age 74, from retiring. 

The Magic got the sixth and 11th pick in the draft and now the focus shifts to who they may take but there is another question to also ask: do the Magic want two guaranteed rookie contracts added to their payroll? Before you say, of course they want two of the top 11 players in the draft, this is not a great draft. Victor Wembanyama is a unicorn, but most talent observers think this is an average draft with few impact players.

The team has 12 players already under contract. It will be interesting to see what they do with Jonathan Isaac and there are looming decisions to make about Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony. The team has cap space and will have more next summer if they are smart and don't add much salary this off-season. This summer does not feature a great free agent class so the team will be smart in transactions. 

It is not crazy to think the team looks at moving up by trading their two picks for someone's pick above them. But is there a big difference between players 2-10 in this draft? That depends on who you ask. Some think Villanova's Cam Whitmore, who might go as high as third or fourth, is not that much better than Kansas' Grady Dick, who might go 10th or 11th. 

The Magic need a shooter. The team still struggles in that category. Most players projected in the 4-12 range are athletic but none of them are sharp shooters so it's a gamble to project a player becoming a consistent outside threat.

UCF's Taylor Hendricks is projected to be a top 10 pick. I love Taylor's game and think his game is better suited to the more open NBA game. He has freak athletic skills and was an excellent shot blocker in college. His outside game was good at UCF but he will need to shoot better in the NBA and he was challenged against taller, more physical players. He struggled against Oregon's bigs in UCF's NIT game. But I expect Hendricks to add muscle and grow an inch or two in the years to come. If the Magic draft Hendricks they'd be getting a very talented young player with huge upside. Ausar Thompson played for the Overtime Elite team and is a nice athletic player as well. The point is the Magic will have their choice among a solid group of players with upside and hope they pick the right one.

Do they really want two of these players? I am not sure. I would not be surprised if the team gets creative and maybe packages both picks if they find someone they really love. Or they could even move the pick for a future selection and cash from someone. The team has plenty of young players. The 11th pick is projected to make about $4M and the contract is guaranteed for three years. While it doesn't sound like a lot of money, it's something to consider as the Magic try to position themselves to be attractive to potential free agents after a playoff season in 2023-24...

ACC athletic directors had a good healthy back-and-forth at their spring meetings. The argument, like all, is over money. The league has fallen further behind the SEC and Big Ten in media money and projected revenue. Michael Alford, FSU AD, has been vocal about needing and deserving more money. It appears the idea of unequal revenue distribution is off the table but a performance based bonus is on the table. Even Alford admits such a bonus program might generate up to $10M in additional dollars and that doesn't close the projected $30-40M difference to the big two leagues. Here's what is happening, the reported seven schools who are asking for more money realize the Grant-of-Rights is hard to break and they also may have no place to go. People on twitter don't make decisions about conference realignment and expansion. The SEC and Big Ten seem pretty content to stay at 16 and there appears to be no reason for any network to just pay more for ACC schools. My guess is the league creates a bonus pool to pay based on performance on the field and television ratings. One note, such a bonus model for football might have led to $0 for FSU over the last six seasons for on-field performance- same for the Miami Hurricanes...

If you think the New York Yankees are cheating because Aaron Judge looked into their dugout before hitting home runs against the Blue Jays- they are and they are not. In the spirit of the game, we all want teams and players to play hard the right way and let the chips fall where they may. That's cute. First, Judge says he wasn't getting any sign from the dugout but that he heard someone shout something and it caught his attention. Maybe. Did he get a sign because the Blue Jays pitcher was tipping pitchers? Likely. Is it against the rule to do that? No. Every MLB team studies opposing pitchers to see if they tip pitchers and many do. That's not cheating unless you use an electronic device. As for Yankees' pitcher Domingo German getting ejected for a sticky substance on his uniform? Of course he's cheating and deserves the suspension he's about to get. Just like the dozens and dozens of pitchers still using illegal substances. No sport works the gray area of rules like baseball. Players will always try to find a way...

Final note: It's Lovebug season this month. It will happen again in September. It's their time to mate and their time to smash into your windshield.

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