Magic news: Orlando promised to pick Kristaps Porzingis in 2014, before he pulled out from the draft
Back in 2014, the Orlando Magic had the luxury of owning two lottery selections in the NBA Draft — one that was regarded as a deep draft by experts.
The team ended up with Aaron Gordon out of Arizona with the fourth overall pick, then went on to scoop European prospect Dario Saric at number 12, only to trade him to the Philadelphia 76ers who used their 10th pick on Elfrid Payton.
Fast forward to today and Payton has a stronghold on the Magic’s starting point guard spot. In two years, the 6-foot-4 guard has steadily proved to be one that is capable of occasionally stuffing the stat sheet. However, his numbers would’ve been nothing if the team’s original plan three years ago came to fruition.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Orlando already had their eyes on Kristaps Porzingis in 2014, even promising the young Latvian that they would take him with their second lottery selection, before he withdrew from the draft.
“They tried to get Porzingis to stay in the draft that year. He was guaranteed at the pick they used Elfrid Payton.”
“Porzingis knew he could have been picked. He didn’t feel he was ready. He wanted to come over ready.”
The decision has paid off for Porzingis as he’s now touted as one of the best young players in the league today, although playing for the New York Knicks and not the Magic. Interestingly, Orlando came one pick too close to grabbing him in 2015, but the Knicks got in the way, drafting fourth overall and leaving Orlando with Mario Hezonja who has yet to carve his niche with the team.