As the San Antonio Spurs (45-16) prepare to host the Orlando Magic (19-44) Saturday, Project Spurs' own Quixem Ramirez and Phillip Rossman-Reich of the Orlando Magic Daily discussed the matchup in a Gameday Q & A.
Quixem Ramirez: Orlando has the third worst record in the NBA. How far away are they from playoff contention? What should they address in the draft?
Phillip Rossman-Reich: It still feels like the Magic are trying to figure out what kid of team they will be. The picture on the puzzle box is not fully formed. Orlando definitely should take the best player available when it is their turn to pick in this year's draft regardless of position. The hope should be to draft a franchise cornerstone player.
Position-wise, point guard has been a major focus of Magic fans with Jameer Nelson's contract winding down and questions about what his future with the team might be.
Grade Jacque Vaughn's first two seasons. Does he have a future with the Magic?
I would have to give him a B or B- so far. But I want to say an incomplete because the team just is not trying to win yet and where Vaughn can succeed is subtle.
His team plays hard for him, which is all you can ask for from a young team like this. Effort is never a question. And several young guns have shown great strides under him. Maurice Harkless is coming around and Kyle O'Quinn looks like a serviceable backup option. But he is not immune to tanking charges with some of these lineups and it has been discouraging to see how Andrew Nicholson has regressed this season.
Victor Oladipo is second in PER among rookies. Is he the real deal?
I think Oladipo is definitely the real deal. The guy can flat out play and has shown significant inprovement from the beginning of the year. I do not know if he is a point guard or not, but there is no questioning his work ethic and his desire to make himself an his team better. No one in Orlando is upset with him as their pick.
Prediction for tonight's game?
The news that Oladipo will miss his second straight game with ankle soreness definitely takes a lot of lunch away from the Magic. This game will probably go as plenty others have before. Magic play tough for a half and slowly fade away as the better team asserts itself. The Spurs probably end up winning by 12-15 points.