Magic draft Florida State's Isaac with sixth overall pick
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) The Orlando Magic's recently hired president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman entered the first draft with his new team looking to add players who can grow with the rebuilding franchise.
With the No. 6 pick in Thursday night's NBA draft, the Magic selected Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac. The 6-foot-10, 210-pund forward is long and athletic with lots of potential, but he still has a lot of growing to do physically after spending just one season in college . Isaac is the first step in the building process for Orlando's revamped front office that also includes veteran general manager John Hammond.
''We're a growing team and he's a growing player,'' said Weltman, who has assumed control of a Magic team that has missed the playoffs five straight seasons. ''I think tonight was really about adding the right kind of people and getting the chance to select a guy like a Jonathan Isaac who really has tremendous potential.''
In addition to Isaac, the Magic also took Kansas State swingman Wesley Iwundu in the second round with the 33rd overall pick. They drafted Anzejs Pasecniks with the 25th pick and Ivan Rabb with the 35th pick, but traded those away for future picks. Pasecniks was moved in a deal with Philadelphia; Rabb is head to Memphis.
But clearly Isaac is the cornerstone for the Magic's future.
It's unlikely the versatile Isaac is strong enough to start at power forward this upcoming season but he could provide depth behind Aaron Gordon. Isaac, who averaged 12 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.53 blocked shots for the Seminoles last season, is ready to get to work and earn the faith Weltman and Hammond put into him.
''I'm a humbled person and I appreciate them seeking me and wanting me to be part of their program,'' Isaac said. ''I know that the new people in charge are used to winning and they are used to turning programs around and I just want to be a part of that.''
Isaac is an athletic player who can shoot on the perimeter, rebound and handle the ball - making him a candidate to play both forward spots. His build and ability to create his own shot has drawn comparisons to Golden State's Kevin Durant. He shot 51 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point range in helping the Seminoles reach the NCAA Tournament last season.
Still the biggest concern is his lack of strength, which will make it difficult for him to have an immediate impact. But Weltman is banking on Isaac improving in all areas.
''Obviously he needs to physically grow into his body, he needs to learn the NBA game,'' Weltman said. ''The things he needs to improve on if he is a hard worker, which we are betting on, he will improve on. ''
Isaac, who played one year of post graduate basketball at IMG Academy before going to Florida State, said he is nowhere near where he wants to be or can be. He also dismissed any talk about being the savior for a struggling Orlando franchise that is coming off a 29-53 record last season.
''I don't think momentum has shifted in a split second,'' Isaac said. ''It's going to take time to turn things around. It's going to take time; it's going to be a process.''
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