Ahead of the 2019-20 season, five members of our NBA.com Staff are holding fantasy drafts for different franchises to see who can build the best team.
First up were the Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers. Today, we're looking at the Orlando Magic.
The rules of the draft were simple:
- Each team selected five starters, one sixth man and a head coach
- Every player and coach who has represented the Magic franchise since 1989-90 was available
- One specific season had to be selected for each player and the season selected could only be from their time with the franchise (i.e. what Grant Hill did as a member of the Detroit Pistons doesn't count)
- It was a snake draft, meaning the pick order was reversed each round
Below are the results from our draft, followed by an explanation from each member about why they made the picks they did. You can also vote for which team you think is best at the bottom of the page.
1. Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay)
2. Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles)
3. Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13)
4. Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_)
5. Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21)
The order was then reversed each round.
1. Shaquille O'Neal - 1993-94 season
2. Tracy McGrady - 2002-03 season
3. Penny Hardaway - 1995-96 season
4. Dwight Howard - 2010-11 season
5. Rashard Lewis - 2008-09 season
6. Nikola Vucevic - 2018-19 season
7. Steve Francis - 2004-05 season
8. Hedo Turkoglu - 2007-08 season
9. Dennis Scott - 1995-96 season
10. Grant Hill - 2004-05 season
11. Horace Grant - 1994-95 season
12. Scott Skiles - 1990-91 season
13. Ryan Anderson - 2011-12 season
14. Serge Ibaka - 2016-17 season
15. Jameer Nelson - 2009-10 season
16. Victor Oladipo - 2015-16 season
17. Aaron Gordon - 2018-19 season
18. Mike Miller - 2001-02 season
19. Nick Anderson - 1994-95 season
20. Tobias Harris - 2014-15 season
21. Rafer Alston - 2008-09 season
22. Bo Outlaw - 1997-98 season
23. JJ Redick - 2011-12 season
24. DJ Augustin - 2018-19 season
25. Juwan Howard - 2003-04 season
26. Jonathan Isaac - 2018-19 season
27. Evan Fournier - 2017-18 season
28. Marcin Gortat - 2008-09 season
29. Rony Seikaly - 1996-97 season
30. Terrence Ross - 2018-19 season
31. Brian Hill
32. Stan Van Gundy
33. Chuck Daly
34. Doc Rivers
35. Steve Clifford
Starting Lineup: Rafer Alston, Grant Hill, Tobias Harris, Horace Grant, Shaquille O'Neal
Sixth Man: Terrence Ross
Head Coach: Brian Hill
The first pick was easy for me. The most dominant player in franchise history.
Shaq's 1993-94 season was nasty: 29.3 points, 13.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game while leading the league in field goal percentage at 60%. I mean, come on. He also shot 55% from the free-throw line, we'll take it.
I was shocked to grab Grant Hill where I did. I think people forget that when he wasn't hurt he was still one of the most complete wings in the game at the time. His 2004-05 season is probably the only season where he wasn't held back by injury, playing 67 games and averaging 19.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. He was an All-Star that year for the seventh and final time in his career.
Man, I wish we had a chance to see Grant Hill healthy in Orlando. He and T-Mac could've been special. And who knows, maybe they would've ended up with Tim Duncan too.
Horace Grant was starting to slow down by the time he got to Orlando, but his first year there he was still an All-NBA Defender. Tobias Harris made a name for himself in Orlando, which he ultimately turned into a big payday this past summer with the Philadelphia 76ers. And because I'm a fun guy like Kawhi Leonard, I had to add Rafer "Skip to my Lou" Alston to the team alongside former Slam Dunk champion Terrence Ross, who, by the way, has found his calling as a sixth man for the Magic.
I feel like we have a nice balance of floor spacers and playmakers with Shaq as the centrepiece. This team could win a few games if you ask me.
Starting Lineup: Scott Skiles, Tracy McGrady, Dennis Scott, Bo Outlaw, Rony Seikaly
Sixth Man: Nick Anderson
Head Coach: Stan Van Gundy
As the unofficial leader of the Tracy McGrady fan club, anyone who knows me won't be surprised that I took him No. 2 overall. But McGrady is also very deserving of that pick. He was an absolute monster in the 2002-03 season, leading the league with 32.1 points per game while grabbing 6.5 rebounds and dishing out 5.5 assists.
McGrady finished fourth in MVP voting that season behind Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant. He probably should've finished higher.
My focus for the rest of the draft was to select players who would best complement McGrady. Dennis Scott is a natural fit with him in the backcourt, as he shot a scorching 42.5% from 3-point range in 1995-96. (Just ignore the fact that the 3-point line was a couple of inches closer to the basket that season).
To give McGrady some help in the playmaking department, I went with Scott Skiles at point. He averaged 8.4 assists per game in 1990-91 and set an NBA record that still stands with 30 assists in a single game. He was a solid scorer that season as well, pouring in 17.2 points per game on 40.8% shooting from distance.
For some added scoring off the bench, I went with Nick Anderson, who helped the Magic make the Finals in 1995. He is unfortunately known for what he didn't do in that series as opposed to what he did do, but as one of the greatest players to have ever worn a Magic uniform, he was a steal in the fifth round.
With my backcourt taken care of, it made selecting Bo Outlaw and Rony Seikaly with my final two picks an easy decision. Whereas Outlaw provides some much-needed defence and toughness at power forward, Seikaly led the Magic in rebounds (9.5 per game) and blocks (1.4 per game) in his only full season with the franchise.
With Stan Van Gundy pulling the strings, who's beating this team?
Starting Lineup: Penny Hardaway, Mike Miller, Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Anderson, Marcin Gortat
Sixth Man: JJ Redick
Head Coach: Chuck Daly
If you're going to pass up a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and five-time NBA First Team selection in Orlando Magic Dwight Howard, BY FAR the best player at his position for over a decade, it better be for an equally special talent.
That's exactly what Penny Hardaway was at his apex.
Before injuries took their toll, Hardaway seemed prime to take over the mantle from Michael Jordan as the best guard in the NBA. A 6-foot-7 point guard who could score in bunches and thrive in a positionless league, Penny was way ahead of his time.
Surrounding Hardaway on this squad is an army of big shooters. Hedo Turkoglu is a legit 6-foot-10 wing that can handle and get hot. Arguably the second-best player on a Finals team, Turkoglu isn't empty calories either having proven to be a winning player not only in Orlando but also Sacramento.
Young Mike Miller, young Ryan Anderson and young JJ Redick might not be stopping many on the defensive end, but by the simple fact that 3>2 would form a frightening group running off screens and spotting up everywhere around the arc while spreading the floor for Penny to drop dimes and work his magic.
Yeah, we're a little thin up front, but you can do much worse than the Polish Hammer patrolling the paint.
Starting Lineup: DJ Augustin, Steve Francis, Aaron Gordon, Serge Ibaka, Dwight Howard
Sixth Man: Evan Fournier
Head Coach: Doc Rivers
It's easy to forget how dominant Dwight Howard was in his prime. With averages of 22.9 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game in the 2010-11 season, he was named Defensive Player of the Year for the third time in his career and finished second in MVP voting.
As Micah said, Howard was by far the best player at his position for a decade. There's no way I was passing on him with the fourth overall pick.
Similar to Carlan, the rest of my selections were made through the lens of getting the most out of Howard. Serge Ibaka didn't even play for the Magic for an entire season, but he's a strong mid-range shooter and an elite shot blocker. He and prime Howard in the frontcourt would be a nightmare for anyone to score against.
Aaron Gordon and Steve Francis, meanwhile, bring speed and athleticism - think of the dunks! - while DJ Augustin and Evan Fournier space the floor. The six of them make for a dynamic lineup that can compete with any other all-time Magic team, especially with Doc Rivers leading the way.
Starting Lineup: Jameer Nelson, Victor Oladipo, Rashard Lewis, Juwan Howard, Nikola Vucevic
Sixth Man: Jonathan Isaac
Head Coach: Steve Clifford
Picking back-to-back couldn't soften the blow of having the last pick in this one, as I missed out on the four players that have undoubtedly had the greatest impact in the Magic's 30-year history.
To make the most of my predicament, I first went with Nikola Vucevic from this past season, as you could essentially pencil him in for 20 and 10 on a nightly basis. Not only did he average 20.8 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, he did so while shooting 51.8% from the field and 36.4% from deep, becoming the franchise's first All-Star since 2012. He also led the team to the postseason for the first time in seven years - this was a no-brainer.
At six, I went with another All-Star in 2008-09 Rashard Lewis, who was a key cog in the team's Finals run as he averaged 19.0 points and 6.4 rebounds while connecting on 39.4% percent of his 5.5 3-point attempts per game.
Again, though, the downside of picking last was the wait for my next picks, which were again back-to-back. I wanted to shore up my backcourt at 15 and 16, so I went with 2009-10 Jameer Nelson, who helped fuel the Magic's run to the Eastern Conference with postseason averages of 19.0 points and 4.8 assists while connecting on 39.3% of his 6.0 3-point attempts per game. For the excitement factor, I paired Nelson with 2015-16 Oladipo, who showed flashes of excellence throughout the year, like his 45-point performance against Cleveland.
People might forget about Juwan Howard's lone season in Orlando, and understandably so. Howard was solid, averaging 17.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, but the team's 21-61 record suggests that it was far from solid. Still, things were getting thin and he is a good frontcourt mate for Vucevic since I'm rolling with Lewis at the 3.
My final pick was all about potential, and Jonathan Isaac showed plenty of it in the 2018-19 season, like his averages of 15.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.8 blocks while shooting 50.9% from the field and 40.7% from deep during the team's five-game win streak before the All-Star Break. Length and versatility make the 21-year-old my perfect sixth man.
One way to compare these teams is by adding up the win shares for every season of every player selected.
Going by that, the Tracy McGrady-led Team Scott came out on top rather comfortably with 54.6 wins. The Penny Hardaway-led Team Micah finished second with 45.4 wins, followed closely by the Shaquille O'Neal-led Team Carlan with 44.5 wins.
|1. Team Scott||54.6|
|2. Team Micah||45.4|
|3. Team Carlan||44.5|
|4. Team Kyle||41.0|
|5. Team Gil||37.1|
Do you agree? Cast your vote below for which all-time Magic team you think is the best!
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.