Magic take forward Aaron Gordon with No. 4 pick in NBA Draft


Danny Morales / Valencia Voice

Rob Hennigan and teh Magic selected forward Aaron Gordon with the No. 4 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft.

The Orlando Magic drafted forward Aaron Gordon out of Arizona with the fourth overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft and executed a trade to acquire their second player in the first round.

“As we went through the process, there were a lot of things about Aaron that we really grew to like; mainly his competitiveness, his desire to want to play team basketball to truly try to impact the game in a variety of ways,” said Magic general manager Rob Hennigan.

The Magic entered the draft as one of a few teams in the league with at least two first-round picks. Shortly after drafting Dario Saric out of Croatia with the 12th pick, reports surfaced that the Magic had traded his draft rights to the Philadelphia 76ers for point guard Elfrid Payton, who was selected two picks prior.

“Elfrid going into the draft was someone that we had targeted if we could get him,” said Hennigan. “We love his toughness, we love his competitiveness and we love his desire to want to play defense. So as the draft started to fall and things started to shake out we felt it was worth to go and acquire him using some of the assets we have.”

Earlier on Thursday, the Magic traded Arron Afflalo to the Denver Nuggets for Evan Fournier and the 56th pick in the draft, which they used to draft Devyn Marble out of the University of Iowa. Despite losing a shooting guard in Afflalo, the Magic opted to draft the 6’9” Gordon and a point guard in Payton.

Payton was likely drafted to eventually take over point guard duties. Last season the Magic moved rookie Victor Oladipo from shooting guard to point guard and the results were mixed. The team will also have to address Jameer Nelson this summer as his contract is not guaranteed for next season and can be bought out for $2 million.

The Magic’s two new draft picks have history with each other as both were teammates on the FIBA Under-19 World Championship team last summer. Gordon first learned about Payton as his new teammate after the draft and was excited about Payton joining the Magic.

“Oh my goodness, that’s absolutely incredible,” Gordon said on the Magic acquiring Payton. “He’s my kind of player, he plays both ends – he can handle the ball, he’s a good decision-maker and a good point guard. He’s very unselfish, plays both ends, plays with a lot of heart and he’s such a good character and good guy to be around.”