Bursting on to the NBA scene in 1989, the Orlando Magic was a breath of fresh air for NBA fans. Not only has the Magic helped develop Orlando into something of a basketball town, they have gone on to either draft, or acquire a slew of highly touted NBA talent and superstars. Though there can be no exact science, individual accomplishments, impact on the team and franchise, and to a lesser degree, tenure, all factor into determining the best players in Let’s take a look at the best and brightest that of the Orlando Magic thus far.
Before diving into the top ten players, here are two honorable mentions who just missed the cut.
J.J. Redick – played for the Orlando Magic from 2006 to 2013. Redick was a sharpshooter who ranks third in franchise history in three-pointers made. Redick played a key role in the Magic’s famous 2009 NBA Finals run.
Hedo Turkoglu – played two stints in Orlando from 2004 to 2009 and 2010 to 2013. Turkoglu was a versatile forward with excellent ball-handling skills and an unflappable perimeter shot. He was named the Most Improved Player in 2008 and was also a key contributor to the Magic’s 2009 Finals run.
#10 – Darrell Armstrong
Though not well-known to the more casual NBA fan, Armstrong was a crucial contributor for the Orlando Magic in the late 90s and early 2000s. Armstrong was an undersized point guard who played with a lot of heart and energy, and was often one of the quickest players on the court. He was named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year in 1999 and was an important piece in the Magic’s 1999 playoff run.
Armstrong ranks third in franchise history in steals and fifth in assists. He also holds the franchise record for most three-pointers made in a game with 10. Though Armstrong’s impact on the Magic may not have been as outstanding as some of the other players on this list, he was a fan favorite for hardcore Magic fans.
#9 – Horace Grant
Horace Grant is a four-time NBA champion who played for several teams throughout his career. He joined the Magic in 1994 and played four seasons in Orlando. Grant was a versatile power forward who could score, rebound, and defend.
Grant’s impact on the Magic was felt both on and off the court. Grant played a huge role in the team’s 1995 NBA Finals run, infamously ruining Michael Jordan‘s comeback from baseball by eliminating the Bulls’ in the second round. The veteran Grant was also a mentor to young players like Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee Hardaway.
#8 – Rashard Lewis
Another key player for the Orlando Magic during their 2009 NBA Finals run and was also an All-Star that year. Lewis was a versatile forward who could shoot from the outside and post up smaller defenders. He was a matchup nightmare for opposing teams and played a key role in the Magic’s offensive attack.
Lewis ranks in the top ten in franchise history in several categories, including three-pointers made, scoring average, and minutes played.
#7 – Nick Anderson
Nick Anderson has the distinction of being the first player to ever be drafted by the Orlando Magic, going number 11 overall in the 1989 NBA draft. A versatile shooting guard who could score from anywhere on the court, Anderson was also a tenacious defender who was not afraid to get physical with opposing players.
Anderson ranks in the top ten in franchise history in several categories, including points, rebounds, and steals. Sadly, he is perhaps best known for missing four consecutive free throws in the closing minutes of Game 1 of the 1995 NBA Finals, which may have cost the Magic a chance at a championship. Despite this, Anderson’s impact on the Magic cannot be denied.
#6 – Nikola Vucevic
Nikola Vucevic is one of the most talented players in Magic history. He played for the team from 2012 to 2021 and was a dominant force in the paint. A skilled scorer and rebounder, Vucevic could take over a game when he needed to.
Vucevic ranks in the top ten in several categories in franchise history, including points, rebounds, and blocks. He was named an All-Star twice while playing for the Magic and was crucial to the team’s playoff runs in 2019 and 2020.
#5 – Grant Hill
Grant Hill was a game-changing versatile forward who played for the Magic from 2000 to 2007. Seen as the future of the league in his early years, Hill was a seven-time All-Star and was named to the All-NBA First Team once while playing for the Magic.
Although injuries derailed his career, Hill’s impact on the Magic resonates with fans to this day. Hill was always an exciting watch, and sadly fans were never fully treated to the dynamic duo that could have been with Tracy McGrady.
#4 – Tracy McGrady
A bonafide NBA superstar, Tracy McGrady is one of the most talented players in NBA history. He played for the Magic from 2000 to 2004 and was consistently a problem for opposing defenses. McGrady was a two-time scoring champion and was named to the All-NBA First Team twice while playing for the Magic.
#3 – Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway
Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway was one of the most talented players in Magic history. He played for the team from 1993 to 1999 and was a dominant force on the court. Hardaway was a four-time All-Star and was named to the All-NBA First Team twice while playing for the Magic.
Hardaway ranks in the top ten in several categories in franchise history, including points, assists, and steals. He was a key contributor to the team’s playoff runs in 1995 and 1996 and was a fan favorite who helped to elevate the Magic’s profile.
#2 – Shaquille O’Neal
A case can be made that Shaquille O’Neal is perhaps the greatest player in Magic history. He played for the team from 1992 to 1996, and was a dominant force on the court, particularly on the offensive end. O’Neal was a three-time All-Star and was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 1993.
O’Neal led the Magic to the NBA Finals in 1995 and was a fan favorite who helped to put the team on the map. O’Neal’s impact on the Magic cannot be overstated, and he will go down as one of the greatest players in NBA history.
#1 – Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard is perhaps the most dominant player in Magic history. He played for the team from 2004 to 2012 and was a force to be reckoned with in the paint. Howard was a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and led the league in rebounding five times.
Howard ranks in the top ten in several categories in franchise history, including points, rebounds, and blocks. He was named an All-Star six times while playing for the Magic and led the team to the NBA Finals in 2009.