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Top Ten Orlando Magic of All-Time

The preseason might be upon us, but we’re still living in the past at The Hoops Manifesto. We’ve gathered together a stellar collection of Bloguin basketball writers to determine the top ten players all-time for each of the 30 NBA franchises. Next up: the Orlando Magic.

Voting panel: Jeff Fox from The Hoops Manifesto, College Wolf from the TWolves Blog; Don from With Malice and Philip from Orlando Magic Daily.

10) Grant Hill – Orlando Magic – 2000 – 2001, 2002 – 2003, 2004 – 2007

Magic accomplishments:

- two-time NBA All-Star

“When Grant Hill arrived in Orlando in 2000, he was only 28-years-old and still one of the best players in the NBA (five-straight All-NBA selections). He didn’t leave Florida until 2007, but during that time only played in 200 games (out of a possible 574) for the Magic due to his recurring injuries.  Classic case of “what could have been.”” – Jeff Fox

9) Darrell Armstrong – Orlando Magic – 1994 – 2003

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Magic accomplishments:

- NBA leader in games played in 1998/99
- NBA Most Improved Player
- NBA Sixth Man of the Year

“For an undrafted free agent who didn’t play his first NBA game until he was 26-years-old, Darrell Armstrong had a remarkable career, most of it spent with the Magic. He even got NBA MVP votes in 1998/99 & 1999/00.” – Jeff Fox

8) Horace Grant – Orlando Magic – 1994 – 1999, 2001 – 2002

Magic accomplishments:

- NBA leader in games played in 1998/99
- two-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection

“The be-goggled one brought his winning ways from the Windy City to Disney World in 1994, helping lead the Magic to the NBA Finals in his first season with the team (sure, Shaq and Penny helped too.) – Jeff Fox

7) Rashard Lewis – Orlando Magic – 2007 – present

Magic accomplishments:

- NBA leader in three-pointers (made & attemted) in 2008/09
- one-time NBA All-Star

“No, he’ll never be worth the money that Orlando is paying him, but you can’t knock Rashard Lewis for that – he has played just as well for the Magic as he did for the Sonics, providing the team with a deadly outside marksman.” – Jeff Fox

6) Jameer Nelson – Orlando Magic – 2004 – present

Magic accomplishments:

- one-time NBA All-Star
- NBA All-Rookie Team

“He might be just a lil’ fella, and doesn’t put up spectacular numbers, but Jameer Nelson is the heart of the Orlando Magic. If the team had a healthy Nelson during the 2009 NBA Finals, who knows what could have happened.” – Jeff Fox

5) Nick Anderson – Orlando Magic – 1989 – 1999
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Magic accomplishments:

- Magic all-time leader in games, minutes, field goals (made & attempted), three-pointers attempted, steals & points

“The original Magic player (as the team’s first draft pick) is known throughout the nation as “Nick the Brick.” But you will hardly ever hear any Magic fan speak badly about Nick Anderson. Sure he missed four free throws in Game One of the 1995 NBA Finals that would have inked that win and possibly completely changed that series around (not to mention, Anderson could not hit a free throw after that). But most Magic fans remember him for “The Steal.” Game One, 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Michael Jordan and his Bulls were in town looking to steal a game from the top-seeded Magic. In a very tight game, Jordan had his pocket picked by Nick Anderson. It is probably the greatest moment in team history.” – Philip

4) Anfernee Hardaway – Orlando Magic – 1993 – 1999

Magic accomplishments:

- NBA leader in games played in 1993/94 & 1998/99
- four-time NBA All-Star
- NBA All-Rookie Team
- three-time All-NBA selection

“Penny was an incredible talent who was stripped of his explosiveness because of injuries, a bad attitude and Shaq’s departure. It is easy to forget just how good this guy was. Remember, Orlando actually chose Penny over O’Neal in the summer of 1996 when O’Neal left for Los Angeles. Insane right? But Hardaway was that good as arguably the best shooting guard behind Jordan. He could do everything anyone could ask of him. The only problem was he never did it with a smile on his face once the Magic became his team. Orlando fans will probably remember him most for failing to deliver once Shaq left and leading a player revolt against Brian Hill. At least Hill got his revenge when he cut him from the team in 2005 after the Steve Francis trade.” – Philip

“Back in the day, Penny was the man.  Or at least one of a very small group who could lay claim to that epithet.  Before injuries cut him down before his time, before the pairing of O’Neal/Hardaway was torn asunder, Penny Hardaway was All-NBA caliber.  He consistently averaged 20+ ppg and 6+ apg – and helped take the Magic to the Finals.” – Don

3) Tracy McGrady – Orlando Magic – 2000 – 2004

Magic accomplishments:

- NBA leader in points per game in 2002/03 & 2003/04
- four-time NBA All-Star
- NBA Most Improved Player
- four-time All-NBA selection

“McGrady left Orlando on unpleasant terms, but what he did in Orlando was simply amazing. Every time you came to the arena, you knew McGrady was going to put on a scoring show. You could watch him high-step his way from the free throw line past mid-court to the 3-point line and know the entire way he was going to pull up and shoot. His opponents certainly knew that and it simply did not matter. He was going to shoot, and he was going to make it. T-Mac did not have the help he deserved in Orlando, but the Magic are not likely to see another scorer of his caliber for some time.” – Philip

“Now a mere shadow of his former self, there was a time when T-Mac was considered one of the three best players in the NBA.  When his name and Kobe’s were uttered in the same breath.  Now?  Not so much.  But… there was a time…” – Don

“Insane scoring machine at the height of his (healthy) powers.” – College Wolf

2) Dwight Howard – Orlando Magic – 2004 to present

Magic accomplishments:

- Magic all-time leader in free throws (made & attempted), rebounds (offensive, defensive & total) & blocks
- fourth all-time in field goal % in NBA history
- NBA leader in games played in 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08 & 2009/10
- NBA leader in field goal % in 2009/10
- NBA leader in free throw attempts in 2007/08 & 2008/09
- NBA leader in offensive rebounds in 2008/09
- NBA leader in defensive rebounds in 2007/08, 2008/09 & 2009/10
- NBA leader in total rebounds in 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09 & 2009/10
- NBA leader in blocks in 2008/09 & 2009/10
- NBA leader in rebounds per game in 2007/08, 2008/09 & 2009/10
- NBA leader in blocs per game in 2008/09 & 2009/10
- four-time NBA All-Star
- two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year
- NBA All-Rookie Team
- four-time All-NBA selection
- three-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection

“Howard has done some incredible things in Orlando in six seasons. He has led the team to the NBA Finals and two Eastern Conference Finals berths in addition to three straight division titles. These are not small feats in Orlando. Howard has seemingly replaced the massive hole left by O’Neal’s departure more than a dozen years ago and made Orlando basketball like it was in the mid-1990s. An incredible feat for a guy whose offensive game has not developed as quickly as some critics would like. The fact of the matter is, this guy completely changes the game on defense every time he is on the floor. And he is only 24. Scary.” – Philip

“Only misses out on the #1 spot by a hair, Dwight’s not only taken over the Orlando franchise, but the ‘nickname’ too.  But he’s not quite #1 yet.  Anyway, following in O’Neal’s footsteps – Dwight Howard is the outright best center in the league today, and his presence is such that it means that a certain other Florida-based franchise can’t yet lay claim to even being the best team in their state, much less the NBA.” – Don

1) Shaquille O’Neal – Orlando Magic – 1992 – 1996

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Magic accomplishments:

- NBA leader in field goals made in 1993/94 & 1994/95
- NBA leader in field goals attempted in 1994/95
- NBA leader in field goal % in 1993/94
- NBA leader in free throws attempted in 1994/95
- NBA leader in points in 1994/95
- NBA leader in points per game in 1994/95
- four-time NBA All-Star
- NBA Rookie of the Year
- NBA All-Rookie Team
- three-time All-NBA selection

“Sure, Shaq has gone out of his way multiple times to let Orlando know what a “dried-up pond” it is and has probably forever tainted his image in Orlando because of it. But none of that – including decimating the franchise for nearly a dozen years after his departure – has quieted talk of what he has meant to the franchise or talks about some day retiring the No. 32 in the Amway Center rafters. Believe me, Magic fans have debated this issue constantly. That is a testament to how good Shaq was in his first four seasons, helping put Orlando on the NBA map with a trip to the 1995 NBA Finals and showing Orlando what it meant to have a professional basketball team.” – Philip

“Quite simply, I cannot remember a rookie having quite the impact that Shaq did.  Not even LeBron seemed as outright dominating.  Shaq was a beast.  Demanding double/triple teams, and simply going right through them to the rim, it was Shaquille O’Neal who put the Magic on the map.” – Don

Previous franchises done: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, Clippers, Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City/Seattle.

About Jeff Fox

Jeff Fox is Mr. Manifesto - the Supreme Leader and evil mind behind The Hoops Manifesto & The MMA Manifesto

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