Auburn basketball: Okeke projected to have bigger Magic role than Anthony

Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite losing his rookie season due to injury, Auburn basketball alum Chuma Okeke still projects to have a bigger role in 2020-21 for the Orlando Magic than Cole Anthony.

Auburn basketball fans will have a couple of options for NBA viewing that include former Tigers in 2020-21. Unfortunately, some of those options are…subpar we’ll say.

Isaac Okoro–the best draft prospect to pass through the basketball program since Charles Barkley himself–was drafted to the Cleveland Cavaliers. As Bleacher Report pointed out, that may have been a poor fit for him considering the lack of established pecking order and general disorder the franchise has suffered since LeBron James left town for the second time.

Jared Harper, who went undrafted in 2019, has landed on the New York Knicks. With the team’s point guard situation in such disarray, Harper has an outside chance of getting spot minutes as a change-of-pace offensively focused combo scorer.

More than likely, he will struggle to find minutes as the Knicks suffer through another slog of a season. The Knicks are not the way Auburn fans should be getting their NBA fix anyway.

Instead, the sight of the NBA Finals is the host city of the most must-watch team for those who want to follow the professional careers of their favorite Auburn basketball stars: Orlando. The Magic–the team who drafted Chuma Okeke with the #16 overall pick in the 2019 draft–is the team in question in case you needed that spelled out. writer Josh Cohen broached the question of which rookie (Okeke or Cole Anthony) would have a better rookie season. Ultimately, he sees more of a role for the Auburn basketball star:

"So, now to the question at hand: Who will have a better rookie campaign, or more specifically, who will make more of an impact this year?It’s a tough question to answer, and a case could be made for either. Okeke having been in a professional environment for over a year now should give him an edge. Also key is that because of Jonathan Isaac’s absence, and possibly Al-Farouq Aminu’s as well if he’s not ready for the start of the season, Okeke should get plenty of minutes right out of the gate.With his ability to space the floor and guard multiple positions, Clifford will likely rely on the Atlanta native to juggle multiple roles early on. When the team’s guards, notably Markelle Fultz, Evan Fournier and Anthony, drive into the paint, Okeke could be Orlando’s second best kickout option on the perimeter after Terrence Ross."

Okeke having such a prominent role on a playoff team makes Tigers fans justified in cheering for–and expecting–respectable results from an NBA franchise. The Magic were barely a playoff team last season and don’t figure to improve much while other teams in the east (Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington) stand to improve.

That said, they won’t leave you wanting to bang your head on drywall like the Knicks and Cavaliers will make you want to do.

With Okeke prominently featured, even more so than their 2020 pick, Auburn basketball fans not only have a team to cheer on, but they get the satisfaction of knowing a Tiger is poised to get more burn for a playoff team this upcoming season than a highly-touted Tar Heel.

Next. Chuma Okeke ventures into music. dark