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Friday, July 1, 2022

Orlando Magic Pre-Draft Profile: Jabari Walker of Colorado

The Orlando Magic, owners of the No. 1, 32 and 35 picks in the NBA Draft, will have several chances to add them to their roster on June 23.

After starting a rebuild in March 2021, Magic already have significant young talent. Orlando has nine players who were signed to contracts for the 2022–23 season in the first round from 2017.

Nonetheless, the Magic have clear needs after finishing 2021-22 with a 22-60 record.

As the roster stands, Orlando needs 3-and-D wing/forward – with an emphasis on reliable 3-point shooting – that have good shape and length for their position. Depending on what happens with Mo Bamba’s restricted free agency, Magic could also use another big/center.

After taking a step forward in their pre-draft evaluations during the conjunction of the NBA draft in Chicago in mid-May, the Magic are offering a host of workout prospects before the draft.

This story is part of a series on players Magic interviewed with or worked for in Orlando:

Jabari Walker (Colorado)

Height: 6 ft-8 | Weight: 213 pounds | Age: 19 | Wingspan: 6-foot-10 3/4

2021-22 Average: 14.6 points (46.1% off the field – 51% on 2s, 34.6% on 3s), 9.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists.

Relation: Worked for Magic on June 4th

Note: Just because a player is working for a team doesn’t mean they are a target to be drafted. A team not working on a prospect also doesn’t mean they won’t draft them. Six pre-draft prospects are allowed on the court at once and are not allowed on the court with NBA players. After some players sought feedback from NBA teams before the June 1 deadline, college players had to decide whether they would remain in the draft or withdraw and retain any remaining collegiate eligibility.

buzz: Son of former NBA player Samaki Walker, Walker named in the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team for the 2020-21 season after 7.6 points (52.6% shooting – 52.8% on 2s, 52.3% on 3s) and 4.3 rebounds went. He was named first-team All-Pac-12 this past season after leading Buffalo in points and rebounds. Late drafting is expected in the second round.

scouting report: Big, athletic combo forward who should be able to defend 2-4. Fast enough to defend most perimeter players in space, long enough to recover and counter most shots and strong enough to defend big forwards. Must evolve as a face to face defender. Good help defender and weak side rim protector. Made 59 of his 148 3-pointers (39.9%) in college, including 43.5% in his last 18 games. Good outdoor shooter when its feet are set, but will need to improve on shooting movement and shooting off screen. He will also need to shoot more consistently from beyond the arc – 21.4% of his shots in the first 15 games of his sophomore season. You can improvise as a driver, self creator and playmaker.

Suitable: Walker may have to battle Chuma Ocke and Franz Wagner for play time. The ability to play any forward position will help him get more time on the floor as there are many players in Magic who will play forward power. Orlando will need to improve shooting versatility and consistency to help open the floor for his playmates.

This article first appeared on orlandosentinel.com, email at cost khprice@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on twitter @khobi_price,


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