- Here’s a list of the best Orlando Magic picks in franchise history.
- Dwight Howard leads the list of players Orlando selected through the draft.
- Other Magic players included in the list are Shaquille O’Neal and Nick Anderson.
Since joining the league in 1989, the Orlando Magic have reached the NBA Finals twice in their franchise history, 1995 and 2009. They were defeated on both occasions by the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers, respectively, to deny them a championship and keep them in the group of the 11 NBA teams that have never won a championship.
Despite these setbacks, Orlando has selected great talents in the NBA Draft that increased their title hopes and improved their place in NBA championship odds. These players have played an important role in leading the team to contention, thus helping the organization build its fanbase.
Dwight Howard is first on the list of the best Orlando Magic draft picks. The 6-foot-10 center was selected as the first overall pick in 2004 and quickly established himself as the team’s franchise player. He averaged a double-double of 12.0 points and 10.0 rebounds, along with 1.7 blocks, in his first season, good enough to be part of the 2005 All-Rookie 1st Team.
18-year-old Dwight Howard made his NBA debut 17 years ago today: 12 PTS, 10 REB, 4 BLK, 3 STL
Some of his best highlights with the Orlando Magic pic.twitter.com/2Ou476tuTU
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) November 3, 2021
Howard continued his dominance in the paint for the Magic in the seven seasons and spearheaded the team’s six postseason runs, including an NBA Finals appearance in 2009. “D-12” also piled the accolades with three Defensive Player of the Year awards, six NBA All-Star game selections, and five All-NBA 1st Team selections. In 621 games for Orlando, Howard averaged 18.4 points, 13.0 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks.
Before Howard, Orlando had drafted another dominant big man in Shaquille O’Neal, who was also selected as the first overall pick during the 1992 NBA Draft. Much like Howard did, O’Neal displayed dominance in the shaded area and posted an incredible stat line of 23.4 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks in his first season en route to becoming the Rookie of the Year in 1993.
The former Louisiana State star also represented the team in four straight NBA All-Star games from 1993 to 1996. Shaq’s biggest contribution to the franchise was when he helped them make their first NBA Finals appearance in 1995 but was swept by the Houston Rockets. Before signing with the Lakers, O’Neal amassed an average of 27.2 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks for the Magic in 295 games.
Completing the list of the three best Orlando Magic draft picks is Nick Anderson, who was selected 11th overall in 1993. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard out of Illinois was the organization’s first draft pick since joining the league as an expansion team in 1989. Although he didn’t have the resume on paper like Howard and O’Neal, Anderson still laid the franchise’s foundation by becoming the team’s first star player.
In his 10 seasons for Orlando, “Nick the Brick” played his best season during his third year in 1991-92, where he averaged 19.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. His numbers declined when Shaq and Penny Hardaway arrived on the team as they carried the offensive load. Anderson finished his career with the Magic averaging 15.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 692 games.
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