Orlando Magic's All-Time Dream Team
Without the rich history that spans half of a century, the Orlando Magic have seen plenty of talented players step onto the court donning their blue and white uniforms.
From perhaps the most dominant big man the game has ever seen to a two-time scoring champion, the Magic haven't exactly suffered in the talent department.
With 14 playoff appearances and two trips to each the Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Finals, they've enjoyed collective success as well.
But with this season being just their 24th in existence, there's absolutely no way an all-time Magic team could compete with some of the traditional powerhouses.
Or could they?
Filling out a 12-man Magic roster to compete with some of the most storied franchises in history certainly isn't an easy task. With a little bit of work, it's possible.
But for it to be, you need a great starting lineup.
*All statistics provided by Basketball Reference*
Starting PG: Anfernee Hardaway
Due to the presence of Scott Skiles, Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway didn't serve as Orlando's point guard when he first got into town.
But just slightly over halfway through his rookie season, he took over the duties and from then on became one of the NBA's best.
At 6'7", Hardaway had tremendous size for a point guard, which allowed him to shoot over and post-up smaller defenders. Those skills—in addition to his great quickness and ability to finish at the rim—made him a matchup nightmare.
Hardaway's career was marred by constant injuries, and he never reached the full potential he could have had he been healthy.
The Magic went to the NBA Finals during the 1994-95 season and to the Eastern Conference Finals one year later. In those two seasons, Hardaway averaged 21.3 points, 7.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game while shooting a remarkable 51.2 percent from the field.
His numbers slowly started to taper off after that with the departure of Shaquille O'Neal, and injuries eventually won the fight, forcing him to retire far too early.
When he was healthy and in his prime, though, few were better.
It'd be a disservice not to mention that Hardaway was also involved in one of the greatest ad campaigns ever with his miniature counterpart, Lil' Penny.
Starting SG: Nick Anderson
Nick Anderson played more games in a Magic uniform than anyone else in franchise history and spent 10 of his 13 NBA seasons with the team.
During the 1991-92 season—one year prior to Shaq's arrival—Anderson was the team's primary scoring threat and averaged 19.9 points and hauled in 6.4 rebounds per game.
A year later, things didn't change much.
In Shaq's rookie season, Anderson posted eerily similar numbers and proved that he was more than capable of being the big man's sidekick.
The arrival of Hardaway slightly lessened the statistical value of Anderson's play, but there wasn't any question that what he provided on the court was still just as important.
Providing a consistent third scoring option, he averaged 15.8 points per game in both the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons, making him key during the team's two postseason runs.
A capable scorer who can take some pressure off of a team's star players might not get a lot of attention, but is vital in the long run.
Starting SF: Tracy McGrady
Tracy McGrady was one of the best scoring options there was in the early '00s, and the Magic were fortunate enough to have him on their roster for four seasons.
During his tenure with the team, McGrady averaged 28.1 points per game, which is the best in franchise history.
The seven-time All-Star and two-time scoring champion could get the job done in a variety of ways. Whether it was a mid-range jumper or a move in the post, McGrady was virtually impossible for defenders to stop.
McGrady wasn't just a scorer either.
During 295 games in an Magic uniform, McGrady averaged 5.2 assists, showing that he could distribute when defenses collapsed on him.
If it weren't for a couple of injury-plagued seasons after leaving the Orlando, McGrady likely would have easily amassed 20,000 points for his career. Accomplishing such a feat would have put him in pretty elite company.
Nonetheless, when he was healthy and in his prime, few could score with the ease T-Mac could.
Starting PF: Dwight Howard
He might not technically be a power forward, but Dwight Howard is too good to keep out of the starting lineup. Besides, playing out of position wouldn't be that big of a deal with his physical prowess.
In eight seasons with the Magic, Howard averaged 18.4 points and 13.0 rebounds per game while shooting 57.7 percent from the field.
And while his offensive game still lacks a mid-range jumper that typically rounds out the arsenal of a power forward, his athleticism and quickness for a player his size make up for those shortcomings.
That's only on offense.
His ability to change the outcome of games on the defensive end was just as significant. Howard recorded a franchise-record 1,344 blocks during his eight seasons with the team.
Howard's hunger to win almost immediately brought the franchise back to relevancy and made the team a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference for most of his time in an Orlando uniform.
The circumstances of his departure will forever cloud the great things he accomplished—despite a talent shortage around him—with the Magic, and that's a shame. But there's no denying that Howard is one of the best to have ever worn the blue and white.
Starting C: Shaquille O'Neal
If ever there was a no-brainer, this is it.
Shaquille O'Neal was drafted prior to the 1992-93 season and immediately became a force unlike anything the NBA had ever seen before.
In his younger days, Shaq was a lean 7'1" and was one of the best big men at getting up and down the court in transition. Combining that with an evolving, yet solid post game, he became nearly unstoppable on offense.
Over the course of four seasons with the Magic, Shaq averaged 27.2 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while shooting 58.1 percent from the field.
Not only was he a force on offense, but—like Howard—he was a dominant on defense as well with 30.1 percent of his career blocks coming in a Magic uniform. His imposing size was intimidating enough, but his ability to play help defense and stop guards from easily getting to the rim was an added bonus.
It's hard to imagine where the Magic would be today had Shaq never come around.
His immense talent, along with an infectious personality, left a permanent stamp on the organization, and no one will ever forget that.
Sixth Man: Dennis Scott
Even though he was well worthy of being a starter in his day, Dennis Scott also gives a team exactly what's needed from a sixth man.
With a three-point percentage of 40.3 during his time with the Magic, Scott was an elite shooter that could hit clutch threes when called upon.
Shaq and Penny received the majority of attention from opposing defenses, which was a major benefit to Scott.
As defenses collapsed on the big man or tried to stop the dribble penetration of Hardaway, Scott was camped out at the three-point line, waiting for his moment.
And when he got the chance, he knocked the shot down more often than not.
Bench: Scott Skiles
If it weren't for Hardaway's great knack for scoring, Scott Skiles would certainly have a starting role on this Magic all-time dream team.
Perhaps best known for his record 30 assists in one game, Skiles could distribute with the best of them.
But in an era with stars like John Stockton, Mark Jackson and Tim Hardaway playing the same position, it was hard for Skiles to gain the attention he deserved.
And while his passing ability is certainly what made him the player he was, people often forget that he could score as well.
From the 1990-91 through 1992-93 seasons, Skiles averaged 15.5 points per game and was a major offensive weapon for those Orlando teams.
The arrival of Penny eventually forced Skiles to the bench and out of town, but his impact on the organization is still felt today.
Bench: Horace Grant
Horace Grant will probably always be remembered for his time with the Chicago Bulls, but in the mid-'90s he was a valuable asset in Orlando.
While never exactly a star, Grant was everything you wanted in a player. He worked hard, he played defense, he score efficiently and he was tenacious on the boards.
With career numbers of 11.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game with the Magic, he's the perfect big man to bring in off the bench without losing a ton of production.
For those reasons, he's a lock in terms of an all-time Orlando dream team.
Not to mention, leaving him off would deprive everyone of seeing those trademark goggles.
Bench: Grant Hill
This one will certainly stir up some controversy.
It's no secret that Grant Hill could hardly stay on the court during the six seasons he spent with the Magic. His inability to stay healthy frustrated fans and ownership alike.
But when he did play, he put up respectable numbers.
Posting 16.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game during his time with the Magic, Hill wasn't the same player he was with the Detroit Pistons prior to his arrival in Orlando. However, he could clearly still play.
The unfortunate injuries he's suffered have put a slight doubt on a career that was once, without question, Hall of Fame-worthy.
His time with the Phoenix Suns rejuvenated his body and revitalized a career that seemed over, which was great to see. But it's hard not to wonder what Hill would have looked like—in a Magic uniform and elsewhere—had it not been for injuries.
Bench: Rashard Lewis
Rashard Lewis now spends most of his time cheering on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade from the Miami Heat's bench. But during his time with the Magic, he was a valuable asset that could score in bunches.
With his size and skill set, Lewis was tough to guard. At 6'10", he could shoot over smaller defenders with ease, and his quickness allowed him to get by slower big men that tried to prevent him from scoring.
Lewis also proved to be quite efficient, shooting 44.2 percent from the field, 39.9 percent from behind the three-point line and 82.5 percent from the free-throw line during his time with the Magic.
His 16.3 points per game and 5.1 rebounds per game during his time with the franchise were pretty impressive and certainly earns him a spot on this team.
Bench: Darrell Armstrong
Darrell Armstrong didn't play in an NBA game until he was 26 years old, but that didn't stop him from putting together a solid career.
After a stellar 1998-99 season in which he won the Sixth Man of the Year award, Armstrong started every game for Orlando the following year and recorded a career-high 16.2 points per game.
In those seasons, Armstrong also proved to be a pest on defense, averaging 2.1 steals per game. This defensive tenacity often led to quick scores in transition.
And while he wasn't a particularly great shooter, he still found ways to score.
With strength and quickness, Armstrong often got into the lane and finished at the rim or got himself to the free-throw line by drawing fouls. When he got there, he was almost automatic, shooting 87.1 percent for his career.
He wasn't a star, but Armstrong could provide points off of the bench and more importantly, an unmatched energy that often helped carry teammates through tough stretches.
Bench: Hedo Turkoglu
Hedo Turkoglu may very well have played his final game in a Magic uniform this season, but there's no denying the success he's had while in Orlando.
Turkoglu came to the Magic before the 2004-05 season as little more than a role player, but blossomed into a well-rounded, versatile combo forward.
With steady contributions from the minute he stepped onto the court for the Magic, Turkoglu broke out during the 2007-08 season and won the Most Improved Player award in the process.
At 6'10", Turkoglu had the size. But what he also had that most other players his height don't, was the ability to handle and pass the ball.
He could bring it up the court, he could run the offense and he could attack the rim.
Averaging 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists over his eight seasons with the team, Turkoglu has been able to contribute in many different ways.
And while his better days are clearly behind him, he was a great asset for five of those eight seasons.