For the Orlando Magic, who have the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, it would seem that the pre-processing should have been completed by Monday.
College basketball season ended over two and a half months ago, and almost five weeks ago the Magic won the draft lottery, which gave them the top pick in Thursday night’s draft.
Most of the pre-draft training and interviews ended very recently, and many of the prospects went to the draft in New York.
But according to Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman, “this is just the beginning of the process,” and the Orlando organization has plenty of time to consider what it’s going to do.
“My dad told me that if a paper has to be turned in on Friday, don’t turn it in on Monday,” Veltman told reporters on Monday. “We are going to continue the assessment. New information is coming in all the time.”
That “paper” is due out on Thursday night, but the sentiment remains that the Magic are going to use as much time as they can before deciding what they’ll do with the first pick.
Veltman said he expects the Magic to pick the #1 pick.
Rarely is the best choice sold. Since the draft lottery began in 1985, the No. 1 pick has only been traded three times on or before draft night (1986, 1993, and 2017).
But Veltman does not exclude anything. Deadlines create movement, options and offers that weren’t on the table before until the very last possible moment.
“Our job is to explore every opportunity to make our team better,” Veltman said. “We’ll spend as much time on this as we can.”
Former Duke forward Paolo Bankero, Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren, and Auburn forward Jabari Smith Jr. were considered three prospects expected to draw attention to the top pick before the college basketball season is over.
Many rival executives and scouts have believed that the No. 1 pick will go to two players—Holmgren and Smith—since the Magic won the draft lottery.
But the Magic have been inviting various players to practice in Orlando to get to know them better ahead of Thursday.
“The conversation doesn’t just stop at this choice, because we have to be ready to jump from place to place,” Veltman said. “We must be prepared for the fact that the talk will become real. We’re not just talking about two or three top guys.”
The Magic also have two second round picks, numbered 32 and 35.
Veltman acknowledged that they were considering pooling these picks by trying to trade late in the first round or in other ways.
Playing opportunities will be limited for the Orlando team, which could have around 10 players under the age of 25 next season.
“How many young guys can we get through the woods? They may not all survive this, but they should have a chance,” Veltman said. “We are paying attention to it. We are negotiating with teams. Since we have two first picks in the second round and they are treated differently financially in regards to the salary cap, especially for the tax teams, this gives us the opportunity to have some conversations.”
This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Hobie Price at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.