Orlando Magic: What Could Have Been?
Hindsight is 20/20. NBA fans will always look at the greatest what ifs in history.
"What if Len Bias never died?"
"What if Tim Duncan went to Orlando?"
"What if Portland took Durant over Oden?"
Well, I have another one. This one isin't as bad as the three I mentioned. The Orlando Magic are currently looking to sweep the Atlanta Hawks and move on to their second consecutive Eastern Conference Finals. With players like Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson leading the way-one must wonder this:
What if the Orlando Magic didn't waste two lottery picks?
Confused? Well, don't be. I'll bring you back.
June 28, 2005: The 2005 NBA draft. After a ROY season from Dwight Howard, The Magic missed the playoffs and had the 12th overall pick in the draft. The belief was Orlando wanted more beef with Howard inside. Orlando had Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson, and Dwight Howard as their main three.
With the 12th overall pick, The Orlando Magic took Fran Vasquez from Spain. At the time? Great move. Vasquez was seen as another inside player who could bang down low. Draftexpress viewed him as "A poor man's Marcus Camby." Vasquez never came over to play for the Orlando Magic and decided to remain in Spain. At 27, most people believe Vasquez is at best is a NBA rotational player.
Who are the players Orlando missed on? David Lee, Danny Granger and Monta Ellis
June 28, 2006: The 2006 NBA Draft. Dwight Howard continued his progression, posting a 18-12-2 season. The Magic had good role players (Grant Hill, Trevor Ariza, Darko, Keyon Dooling) but after no Fran Vasquez, Orlando needed a impact player to help Hedo, Howard and Jameer Nelson.
With the 11th overall pick, The Orlando Magic selected J.J. Redick from Duke. At the time? Terrible pick. As a Duke fan, I didn't expect Redick to get drafted that early. Redick was a three-point machine, but I questioned if he could defend other SG and get that shot off against more athletic defenders. Redick wasn't a terrible pick. He actually averaged almost 10 points this season and shot almost 40 percent from three off the bench.
Who are the players Orlando missed on? Ronnie Brewer, Thabo Sefolosha, and Rajon Rondo.
Overall, Orlando is still a great team. After not liking their draft picks, Orlando went the Free Agency route and signed Rashard Lewis. Fans could laugh and be like "so what?" but one must wonder how Orlando would look with Danny Granger and Ronnie Brewer or Rondo and David Lee.
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