Like most franchises, the Orlando Magic have had a mixed record when it comes to draft choices. We won’t be counting the “also rans” who, for whatever reason, just never materialized as players (Jeryl Sasser, we’re looking at you).
What are the top five moments, good or bad, in the Magic's draft picks?
Hindsight they say is 20/20.
Shaquille O’neal -C
As a poet once might have said, had he been an NBA fan, “Tis better to have had Shaq and lost than never to have had Shaq at all.”
No matter what you think of Shaq Diesel now, he was the hands down best player (at this point, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, D12) to ever have passed through Orlando.
Even though now he’s been reduced to getting odd haircuts to stay in the postseason limelight, Orlando Magic fans hopefully have had enough time to heal from the ugly separation and appreciate the highlights he brought the city.
Shaq played for Orlando from 1992-1996 and averaged just over 27 points per game, 12.4 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks.
Dwight Howard- C
Yes, No. 12 at No. 2, if for no other reason than the 2000 watt smile.
Seriously, Dwight Howard was exactly what the Magic needed when they needed it: A young, positive-energy player with integrity and an almost limitless upside.
For a franchise that has always prided itself on a positive community image and impact, his no-baggage attitude and awesome work ethic was and is a perfect fit. He is only now starting to realize some of his potential and optimistically will be great for years to come.
Is this postseason unduly affecting our feelings on the Daily Double?
Eh, ask us in five years.
In his first five years in the league, Howard has improved every year, this year averaging 13.8 rebounds per game, 2.9 blocks, and 20.6 points.
Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway G/F
Chris Webber –PF
Penny averaged 19 points, 6.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game. Those of us who have been Magic fans long enough to remember this will know that Golden State actually selected Hardaway and Orlando picked Webber.
Although some could argue that Webber was the better choice, Penny was the right compliment for Shaq’s presence in the middle at the time.
And, don’t forget, if we keep Webber we never get Lil' Penny.
Penny averaged 19 points, 6.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game in his regular season games with the magic
Nick Anderson- SG/SF
Anderson was the Orlando Magic’s first ever draft choice and it was a winner. Picked No. 11 in 1989, Anderson spent 10 years with the Magic and is currently their community ambassador.
He still leads the magic in games played, steals, field goals made, and points made. Check out the video below of possibly the best play of his career and one of the Magic all-time highlights.
Fran Vázquez- PF/C
The mere mention of this name is considered grounds for ejection from any sports bar in central Florida unless it is preceded or succeeded by virulent cursing.
Vazquez was a bust in the truest sense of the word as he NEVER PLAYED ONE GAME FOR THE MAGIC. At a time when Orlando was looking for help for Howard at power forward and their future looked bright, they were snubbed when their 11th pick in the 2005 draft decided he didn’t want to play in the U.S. and stayed in Spain.
Although some doubt he has the skill to play in the NBA, an argument could be supported by his averages last season in Barcelona. He averaged less than nine points per game and less than five rebounds per game.
As a side note, Vazquez has said he wants to play for the Magic next season, although, even if he was released from his contract in Spain, he would face an uphill battle for acceptance from a fan base that feels like a jilted lover.