In the Orlando Magic’s 25-year history, they’ve drafted a number of basketball prospects that turned into excellent NBA players.
But who are the best five draft picks in Magic history? Let’s take a look (in no particular order):
It seems only fitting that we start with the first draft pick in Magic history. Taken 11th overall in the 1989 draft out of Illinois, Anderson would play the first 10 seasons of his NBA career in Orlando.
25 years later, Anderson still holds the franchise record for games played (692), field goal attempts (8,976), field goals made (4,075) and steals (1,004). He is second all-time in points scored (10,650), minutes played, (22,440) and is in the top five for assists, free throws made and attempted, blocks and total rebounds.
He was also an integral part of the Magic making their first NBA Finals in the 1994-95 season where they were swept by the Houston Rockets. Furthermore, Anderson still works for the Magic now and also does TV work too.
Shaq only played four seasons in Orlando but were they ever impactful.
Drafted first overall in 1992 out of LSU, he totalled 8,019 points (fourth in franchise history) and with Anderson took the Magic to their first NBA Finals. He has the second highest field goal percentage in franchise history with .581.
Shaq averaged 27.2 points per game with Orlando and while he left the city unceremoniously he changed the future of what an NBA center is, while becoming arguably one of the greatest centers in NBA history. He was an All-Star in each of his four years with the Magic.
There’s no telling how different the NBA landscape might have been if O’Neal had resigned with the Magic in 96, but he made a huge difference on the court during his four-year tenure in Orlando.
Oh where do we begin? One of Orlando’s most loved athletes is arguably now the most despised athlete in the city after his departure from Orlando.
Regardless, Howard goes down as one of the best draft picks in franchise history after the Magic took him first overall in the 2004 NBA draft.
An All-Star in the last six seasons of his time in Orlando, Howard is the franchise leader in points scored (11,435), total rebounds (8,072), blocks (1,344), free throws made (3,366) and attempted (5,727) as well as minutes played (22,471).
He’s the most dominant player in Magic history with his ability to score and his brilliance on defense. Orlando fans wanted Howard to stay with the team, but his unwillingness to sign a long-term deal drew the ire of the fans who ultimately turned against him as the process became drawn out.
Regardless of how Magic fans now feel about Howard, he’s without question one of the best draft picks in franchise history.
3-D was drafted by the Magic fourth overall in the 1990 draft out of Georgia Tech. In 446 games, Scott scored 6,603 points, an average of 14.8 PPG, with the Magic. He also nailed the most 3-pointers in team history (981) and is in the top 10 in most offensive categories.
Scott was talented enough to play shooting guard, as well as small forward, and used his big 6’8 frame to create his own shot. He stretched the floor with his ability to regularly drain 3-pointers and despite being a mediocre defender, he was outstanding with the ball in his hands. Surprisingly, Scott never played in an All-Star game.
I’m cheating a little here since C-Webb never played a single game for the Magic despite being drafted first overall in 1993. However, it’s what the Magic traded for that allows Webber to be on this list.
The Magic traded Webber to Golden State for Anfernee Hardaway and a bunch of first round draft picks the night Webber was selected.
Hardaway would then become one of the best Magic players of all time. In six years, Penny averaged 19 PPG in 369 regular season appearances. Hardaway is in the top 10 for the majority of offensive and defensive franchise records, illustrating just how good he was on both ends of the floor.
Hardaway made three All-Star games and like O’Neal, Anderson and Scott, was a member of the first Magic team that went to the NBA Finals.
Tags: Orlando Magic