Today, while making my daily run through Bleacher Report, I saw an article that stood out to me. The article was titled "The 10 Biggest What-Ifs in NBA History," written by established Featured Columnist Ryan Klocke. Not only was it a fun and enjoyable read, but it sparked a question in my head.
What are the 10 biggest what-ifs in Orlando Magic history?
The Magic are a relatively new team in the NBA, having joined in the late 1980s, but they have a rich history full of ups and downs.
In the following slides, I will show you my list of the 10 biggest what-ifs in Magic history.
Back in 2001, the Orlando Magic made it known that they were going after Tim Duncan after his contract expired in the 2002-2003 season. The Magic had the cap space and definitely needed a big-man presence.
With the one-two punch of Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady, the signing of Duncan would have put this young Magic team over the top and made them instant title contenders. This had the making of a dynasty in Orlando.
In the end, Duncan decided to stay with the San Antonio Spurs and try to build a championship team with the emerging Tony Parker.
Coming out of the University of Florida back in 2000, the Orlando Magic decided to take Mike Miller with the fifth overall pick in the draft.
Many Magic fans were skeptical of the decision, but Miller failed to disappoint. After a very encouraging season where he averaged nearly 12 points a game, Miller was named the NBA Rookie of the Year.
His next two years in the league were also quite successful, as he improved his scoring average both seasons.
However, before the start of 2002-2003 season, the Magic shipped Miller out to Memphis for Gordan Giricek and Drew Gooden.
Miller never recovered, and it makes me wonder if he could have developed into a star in Orlando.
Many people don't know this, but Wallace was once on the Orlando Magic. However, his one-year tenure in O-Town is very forgettable.
Coming over in a multi-player package from the Washington Bullets in 1999 for Ike Austin, Wallace never found his footing with the Magic. The following season, the Magic traded Chucky Atkins and Wallace for Pistons star Grant Hill.
At the time, the Magic thought they made out like bandits. However, Wallace went on to win four Defensive Player of the Year Awards while Hill could never stay on the court due to injuries.
With the series 2-1 in the Lakers' favor, the Magic knew they would have to win the pivotal Game 4 in Orlando. With the game coming down to the wire, Orlando had a three-point lead in the final seconds.
The Magic thought they had the game in the bag, but Derek Fisher had different plans. With 4.8 seconds left, Fisher hit a game-tying three to send the Magic to overtime, where the Lakers would then rally to victory.
The Magic never recovered, and the Lakers went on to be champions.
After a decent 2004-2005 season, the Orlando Magic selected the Spaniard, Frán Vasquez, with the eleventh overall pick back in 2005. The Magic thought they had another future All-Star to pair up with Dwight Howard; however, Vásquez never came overseas and has yet to play an NBA minute.
The worst part is Danny Granger, the Pacers star, was selected a few picks later.
After a successful few seasons with the Toronto Raptors, Tracy McGrady was dealt to the Orlando Magic in a sign-and-trade deal for a first-round pick in 2000.
Once with the Magic, T-Mac's career took off and in his first season in O-Town, he won the NBA Most Improved Player Award. However, his best season with the team came in 2003 when he averaged 32 points per game and won the scoring title.
Despite McGrady's fantastic performances, he was never really a perfect fit in the organization, as he quit in key games and fought with management.
On August 3, 2000 the Detroit Pistons agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that would send Grant Hill to the Magic in exchange for Chucky Atkins and Ben Wallace. The Magic seemed to be making a run at a championship with the one-two punch of Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill.
The future looked bright with these two budding stars, but from the beginning, Hill started having problems with his ankles. In his first season with the team, he played in only four games. His second and third seasons were not much better, as he only saw the court in a combined 43 games. In his fourth season he didn't see any action.
By the time he was finally healthy, McGrady had moved on to the Rockets and the Magic were ushering in a rebuilding era focused on Dwight Howard.
In the 1993 NBA draft, Chris Webber was selected first overall by the Orlando Magic. However, his tenure with the team was short, as he was shipped off to Golden State minutes later in exchange for Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway and three future first-round picks.
Immediately after the Magic drafted him, the Orlando Magic were boasting the best young frontcourt in the league, featuring Shaquille O'Neal. However, Magic management thought, due to current starting point guard Scott Skiles' mediocre play, they instead should focus on the guard position.
Hardaway had a very successful beginning of his career alongside Shaquille O'Neal and was being compared to Laker great Magic Johnson. However, injuries derailed his career and he never really lived up to potential, while Chris Webber went on to a Hall of Fame-worthy career.
After beating the Chicago Bulls in a legendary playoff series and going on to the NBA Finals, the Magic met their match in the Houston Rockets.
In an extremely close Game 1, the Magic found themselves three points up with seconds remaining. However, Magic shooting guard Nick Anderson missed four free throws that could have sealed the game, and the Rockets went on to win in historic fashion.
The Magic never recovered and were swept by the powerhouse Rockets. It took Orlando more than a decade to achieve their first Finals victory.
Definitely the biggest what-if in Magic history, Shaq was not just a dominating center, but the face of Orlando.
From being drafted out of LSU in 1992, Shaq immediately was a fan favorite in O-Town, not just because of his astounding play, but also for his colorful personality.
He was the first player to be voted an All-Star starter his rookie season since Michael Jordan, and he won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
However, after an extremely successful tenure in Orlando, the appeal of Hollywood and the Lakers was too much for Shaq, and he bolted to California.
This caused the Magic franchise to struggle for years until they drafted a certain rookie center who has dominated the league from his first game.
A certain rookie center who just happens to also be appealed to the warm, sunny beaches and fame of Los Angeles.