Why Magic must target Gradey Dick in 2023 NBA Draft if they get No. 11 pick from Bulls

For the first time since Dwight Howard left in 2012, the Orlando Magic are worth caring about. Such is the power of freshly minted Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero, a budding superstar coming off one of the most impressive rookie years in recent memory. But beyond Banchero, the Magic have an alluring collection of big, multi-talented players. Franz Wagner made a considerable leap in his second year, averaging 18.6 points to form the NBA’s most promising and intriguing forward battery alongside Banchero. To wit, Wendell Carter Jr. is the ideal skilled, rim-protecting center to complement Wagner and Banchero while Markelle Fultz has resuscitated his career. In this sense, Orlando is 80 percent of the way to being a seriously good team—over their final 57 games, they went 29-28. All Magic really need is some more shooting—and Gradey Dick is the best shooter in the 2023 NBA Draft.

During his one year at Kansas, the 6’8 wing quickly established himself as one of the best players on the best team in the best conference. Despite sharing the court with celebrated upperclassmen like Jalen Wilson and Kevin McCullar, Dick carved out a role as Kansas’ primary perimeter weapon, averaging 14.1 points per game (second most on the team) and draining 83 threes, the second most in the entire conference. To wit, Dick even chipped in considerably on the glass, hauling in 5.1 rebounds per game, grabbing the 13th most total rebounds in the Big 12. Unsurprisingly, Dick earned a Second Team All-Big 12 nod as well as making the Big 12 All-Freshman Team. 

The basic contours of Gradey Dick’s game are familiar: he’s a deadeye shooter with a quick release and gorgeous form. It takes almost no augury or prognostication to envision his role in the NBA. At Kansas, Dick made hay creating shots for himself with his savvy off-ball movement. In transition, he frequently fanned out to the wings and corners and drained nearly 57 percent of his transition threes, going 25 of 44 on those shots. Beyond just his shooting, Dick was a killer transition scorer in general; his combination of volume (3.3 transition possessions per game) and efficiency (1.29 points per possession) make Dick the most dangerous transition player in this year’s draft. If the Magic draft Dick, he has an easy pathway to contribute right away.

In the halfcourt, Dick leveraged the threat of his perimeter shooting by staying in constant motion in the halfcourt. Like JJ Redick or Buddy Hield or Klay Thompson before him, Dick spent a lot of time careening through a variety of pin downs and flare screens and ghost cuts and dribble handoffs as he tried to shake his defender and create space for a three. The actual results were a little iffier than would be ideal (just 33.7 percent shooting on off-screen possessions), but the real value lies in the way that his movement distorts defensive shells; Dick is the kind of shooter who demands constant vigilance.

In this sense, Gradey Dick represents the missing link for an Orlando team that’s otherwise primed to make a leap towards play-in contention, if not playoff contention. Without any notably good shooters on the roster, the Magic couldn’t capitalize on the full breadth of their team’s talent, finishing with one of the five worst offenses in the entire NBA. Banchero and Wagner, for their considerable individual gifts, are unremarkable shooters; Carter, their starting center, is the only member of the Magic who is a legitimately above-average shooter for their position, but Carter’s shooting is limited entirely to open spot-up opportunities. By adding Dick in the draft, the Magic could incorporate a whole new element to their offense and also declutter the paint for Banchero and Wagner in the process.

While Dick would help fix one of Orlando’s most glaring weaknesses, he’d sneakily contribute to their biggest strength as well: Dick is big. Whereas most elite movement shooters are weedy, wispy little things, Dick is huge and athletic. At 6’8, he towers over most NBA shooting guards; he was one of only four players in all of college basketball with more than 80 made threes and 15 dunks last season. Accordingly, Dick could slide into any Magic lineup without compromising their larger organizational philosophy. Even if Dick isn’t an especially good individual defender and will be hunted by smart offenses, the Magic wouldn’t have to rework their scheme to accommodate him—Dick’s sheer size and athleticism ensure a baseline level of competency on that end of the court. 




The post Why Magic must target Gradey Dick in 2023 NBA Draft if they get No. 11 pick from Bulls appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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