In terms of memorable players, this is the best of the late 80s on expansion teams…You say it’s not much, but that’s over 20% of the league! 7 teams have come about since the late 80s, and when you look at talent, this one is best…Look at them, from the days of Shaq, and Penny, to the impressive years of McGrady (now, I really, really, REALLY, hate him, but you have to admit, 32 points in a low scoring, defensive minded league is impressive, to today, with Howard (who I also, really, really hate…He’s so overrated. He’s not really a good defender…It’s all crap. They get the ball back…His blocks aren’t worth much…). Pretty impressive, I guess…Here we go!
(1) 1996 Orlando Magic (60-22) vs. (22) 1990 Orlando Magic (18-64)
We begin in the Shaq era…27-11 came from him, in his last Orlando year (he’d bolt to LA after the year…he played only 54 games this year….this starts his “not playing full years” trend…). And this is a really good team around him, with Penny Hardaway had an impressive 22-4-7 in the absence of Shaq, while a still-rattled Nick Anderson had 15-5-4, Dennis Scott had 18-4-3, and Horace Grant had 13-9…It’s possible that they completely obliterate everyone else.
Year one of Orlando….Terry Cartledge had 19-8, a washed up Reggie Theus had 19-3-5, Otis Smith and Jerry Reynolds both added 13 points, while rookie Nick Anderson had 12-4-2….Sam Vincent had 6 assists….Not too bad for an expansion team…some half-big names…..None of them are at their peak….That’s probably the definition of an expansion team….These guys just happen to be better than some of the other “teams” that were just added…
(2) 2009 Orlando Magic (59-23) vs. (21) 2004 Orlando Magic (21-61)
Oh great, we get to meet Dwight Howard….Or should I say “DPOY” Dwight Howard….I really don’t like him…I’m sorry Orlando, I don’t hate Shaq, I really love those jerseys (except Orlando probably hates him now though….bad way to show my positive side to Orlando…)…I like the Tracy era jerseys…I hate Tracy, but the jerseys are pretty good…I’m sorry, but the jerseys sucked in the Howard era. At least they were wearing the striped unis that year…Those aren’t THAT hideous, the ones before were though…(Though the new awful black alts came from the stripes….And the “A” in MAGIC bothers me…It just does…It doesn’t look right…)…Anyway, that’s my opinion on their uniforms…Back to 2009…The Finals team that got SWEPT by LA…Howard had 21-14-3 blocks…Turkoglu (why does he spell his name like that…Turk-o-glue….Get rid of the G!) had 17-5-5, Rashard Lewis put up an logic defying 18-6, and Jameer Nelson had 17-4-5 in half a year.
Tracy’s numbers are down from the year-of-complete-scoring-obliteration, but 28 points was good enough to lead the league…He also had boards and 6 assists…Juwan Howard had 17-7 and Drew Gooden (I never EVER think of him on Orlando…Of course, I never think of Drew Gooden.) had 12-7. Tracy and Howard (sorry…Juwan) are sent packing to Houston, and………..Steve Francis is sent in….It gets better…Dwight is drafted 1st overall this year…
(3) 2010 Orlando Magic (59-23) vs. (20) 1992 Orlando Magic (21-61)
DPOY Howard had 19-13-3…(I guess why he won 3 straight is…..there really is no other elite defenders ((there are exactly 0 in today’s NBA…Battier was good…and most of the centers don’t seem to be enforcers…)). 2nd place finishes: KG, Josh Smith, and Baby Bron…not really any good contenders…His blocks aren’t that impressive either…He’s 14th among DPOY winners in blocks per game…And he blocks SO many out of bounds. In boards, he’s second to the monster year of Ben Wallace, in a lower scoring league…He’s good, but not great…). Anyway (I’m doing a lot of rambling on Orlando…), we see Vince (17-4) make it past round two for the first time…Lewis had 14-4, and Jameer Nelson had 13-3-5 (I don’t like Nelson either…who wants a chubby point guard?).
Not a very good year…Thankfully for Orlando fans, Shaq comes next year…Nick Anderson had 20-6-3 this year, Terry Cartledge had 15-7, and Scott Skiles had 14-3-7…a lot of incomplete years all around…Greg Kite had 6 boards a night though…You know it’s a bad year when Greg Kite grabs 6 boards for your team….
(4) 1995 Orlando Magic (57-25) vs. (19) 1991 Orlando Magic (31-51)
We were praising 1996, but THIS probably will the unstoppable Magic team (at least in the Magic tourney…)…Shaq had an incredible 29-11 year, while Penny had 21-4-7, Nick Anderson (pre-missed free throws…well, he was clean till Game one of the Finals…when they got SWEPT) had 16-4-4, while Horace Grant had 13-10 (he came here in the offseason, which broke up an actually-pretty-good 55 win Bulls team post Jordan…), and Dennis Scott had 13-2-2…Pretty good…
Not good at all…Scott Skiles had 17-3-8 and had his famous 30 assist game this season (pretty impressive for a balding guy….Sorry to all the LeBron, Rick Barry, or Drexler fans out there…you know who you are…), while Dennis Scott had 16-3, and Nick Anderson had 14-6.
(5) 1999 Orlando Magic (33-17) vs. (18) 2006 Orlando Magic (36-46)
Remind me again how they were above .650? Penny had 16-6-5, Nick Anderson had 15-6, and Darrell Armstrong had 14-4-7, while Grant had 9-7. Dominique Wilkins made yet ANOTHER comeback after going to Europe from Boston…he was seen in San Antonio, and made his final playing minutes here in Orlando…Oddly enough, his brother, Gerald Wilkins, was also on this team. His son, Damien Wilkins, would play for Atlanta….Just some Wilkins family history on a lockout team…
Blah….Howard had 16-13 in his second year, while they managed to dump Steve Francis in New York…Grant Hill played 21 games (after 67 the previous year), while Turkoglu had 15-4, and Jameer Nelson had 15-3-5.
(6) 2008 Orlando Magic (52-30) vs. (17) 2005 Orlando Magic (36-46)
I think I hate the makeup of this team the most…Howard and a bunch of shooters…That’s really it…Howard had 21-14, Hedo had 20-6-5, Lewis had 18-5 and Nelson had 6 assists….I would be unhappy if that was my hometown team…(I’m one to talk….I live in DC).
Howard had 12-10 to debut. He was saddled with a roster filled with Steve Francis (ugh…21-6-7), the ever injured Grant Hill (20-5…not too bad of a year actually…), and Hedo (14-4)….
(7) 2011 Orlando Magic (52-30) vs. (16) 2007 Orlando Magic (40-42)
Howard had 23-14 amid many changes…Carter was traded for Jason Richardson (14-4)…Lewis (12-4) was traded for Arenas (8-2-3…….20 MIL!!!!!), while Hedo had 11-5-5, and Nelson had 13-3-6…I wouldn’t call this a contending team…an average playoff team…
Howard had 18-12, while Grant Hill played 60+ games and had 14-4 (and was in Phoenix next year…), while Nelson had 13-3-4 and Hedo had 13-4-3.
(8) 1994 Orlando Magic (50-32) vs. (15) 2000 Orlando Magic (41-41)
The first Orlando playoff team! Shaq was a monster, putting up 29-13, and Penny was pretty good in his rookie year (Orlando drafted Webber 1st overall, but traded him to Golden State for Penny…Imagine Webber and Shaq on the same team….even better than the 1995 Finals losers…), with 16-5-7 (know why he is called Penny? His grandmother would call him “Pretty”, which sounded like Penny in her southern accent…). Nick Anderson had 16-6-4, Dennis Scott had 13-3-3, and Skiles had 6 assists a game…not too bad of a team…
Very weird year…Penny and Nick Anderson were traded before the year….Chauncey Billups was traded here but didn’t play, Ben Wallace had 5-8, Earl Boykins played one game, Corey Maggette had 8-4, Darrell Armstrong had 16-3-6, AND Doc Rivers won Coach of the Year (despite missing the playoffs….). Grant Hill and McGrady would join Orlando next year (Hill will play 4 games….and Tracy will blossom into a legit scoring threat…).
(9) 1997 Orlando Magic (45-37) vs. (14) 1998 Orlando Magic (41-41)
An odd year, the first one post-Shaq…Penny had 21-5-6, Rony Seikaly had 17-10, Horace Grant had 13-9, Dennis Scott had 13-3, and Nick Anderson had 12-5-3….
A straight year matchup, so we move onto 1998…Another odd year…Penny had only 19 games, Anderson (15-5) had 58, Seikaly was sent away for Mark Price (10-2-5), Derek Harper had 9-2-4, Horace Grant had 12-8, and Spud Webb made a 4 game appearance….Very weird year.
(10) 2002 Orlando Magic (44-38) vs. (13) 1993 Orlando Magic (41-41)
It seems we’ve been dancing around the McGrady years, but here is him in his second Orlando year…26-8-5 came from him, Mike Miller had 15-4-3, Darrell Armstrong had 12-4-6, Horace Grant stayed around for 8-6….Hill played 14 games. Patrick Ewing (6-4) ended his career here in Orlando…
Rookie Shaq! Pretty good team, Shaq had 23-14, Anderson had 20-6-3, Skiles had 15-4-9, but Dennis Scott (16-3-3) played only 54 games….
(11) 2001 Orlando Magic (43-39) vs. (12) 2003 Orlando Magic (42-40)
Tracy vs. Tracy…Or High-Scoring-Tracy vs. Beast-Tracy….This is the high scoring Tracy, having 27-8-5 in his first Orlando year, while Darrell Armstrong had 16-5-7, and Mike Miller (Rookie of the Year) had 12-4….not a really good rookie crop…Hill played 4 games in HIS first Orlando year…
Now it’s time for beast Tracy…McGrady had 32-7-6, which is incredible numbers (I still hate him….). Miller was traded to Memphis and they got Drew Gooden (14-8) back…Shawn Kemp had 7-6, in his final year…Not that bad of a team….
That’s the Magic…it was a pretty enjoyable ride (no matter my feelings for them…). So many talented players…
Ladies and gentlemen, your Orlando Magic! Next, Wilt, Dolph, Moses, the Doctor, and the Answer, all featured in the legendary ride through Philly.