Photo is courtesy of the Orlando Magic.
For roughly a week's worth of time, I analyzed the worthiness of four former Orlando Magic players to see if one of them deserved to have their jersey retired. I examined their impact on the court and off the court to decipher whether or not there was an individual that possessed the "complete" package to be honored - a.) having comparable numbers to other players in the NBA that have their numbers hanging in the rafters and b.) having impacts in the Central Florida community.
To supplement the posts, I included polls to figure out what people thought of each individual.
Here are the results, so far:
It's clear, when looking at the poll figures, that fans believe Nick Anderson is a former Magic player that most deserves to have his jersey retired by Orlando.
Darrell Armstrong received slightly favorable support, Anfernee 'Penny' Hardaway was in the middle of the pack, and Shaquille O'Neal received heavily unfavorable support. None of these results should be too surprising for those that follow the Magic, given that they fall in line with the feelings and perceptions of each player.
I wanted to conduct one last exercise in this mini-series before concluding things, and that was to utilize Benjamin Golliver's jersey retirement formula from Blazersedge & figure out how each former Orlando individual fared in the calculations.
Ben performed a number-crunch for Nick Anderson so I went ahead and tallied up the data for Darrell Armstrong, Anfernee 'Penny' Hardaway, and Shaquille O'Neal.
Click after the jump for the results.
The majority of the calculations are no-brainers but in cases where awarding points isn't clear, I attached notes to explain my reasoning. If you're antsy or impatient [!!], feel free to skip to the bottom to see the point totals.
Criterion One: Connection with the Franchise
To determine how closely a player is connected with a franchise, one generally assesses 4 conditions:
Did the player play his most important years with the team?
Did the player play the majority of his career with the team?
Was the player drafted by the team?
Did the player retire with the team?
Armstrong - 3.5 points (meets conditions #1, #2, and #3 [sort of])
Hardaway - 4 points (meets conditions #1, #2, and #3)
O'Neal - 2 points (meets conditions #3)
Notes: Even though Armstrong wasn't drafted by the Orlando Magic, he still did begin his career with the team as an undrafted free-agent. As for Hardaway, he was with the squad for six full seasons and was with the Phoenix Suns for five & a half full seasons (traded mid-season to the New York Knicks in 2003-2004).
Criterion Two: Success with the Franchise
Judging a player's relative success across generations can be tricky, but its clear two factors are important to consider: the maximum success his team's enjoyed and his role in creating that success.
Ask yourself, "Can the story of the franchise's glory days be told without mentioning this player?"
To weigh both the team's success and the player's role in that sucess, I gave 5 points to a star on a championship team, 5 points to a starter on championship team, 5 points to a star on a finalist team, 4 points to a role player on a finalist team and 4 points to a starter on a finalist team.
Armstrong - 2 points (courtesy)
Hardaway - 5 points (star on 1995 NBA Finals team)
O'Neal - 5 points (star on 1995 NBA Finals team)
Notes: Armstrong didn't meet any of the requirements (side note: technically, he was on the roster of the 1995 NBA Finals team), so he was given 2 courtesy points for being the face of the 'Heart and Hustle' era.
Criterion Three: Statistical Body of Work
Ask yourself, "How dominant (and for how long) was this player?"
In assigning the points in this category, I took into account: league-leading tallies, franchise/league records, double-doubles, 10+ year careers, and anything else that truly jumps out of the box score/ stat sheet.
Armstrong - 2.5 points
Hardaway - 5 points
O'Neal - 5 points
Notes: Armstrong's numbers with the Magic were comparable to Nick's numbers (not aggregate, but per minute), but he did not possess any franchise-records. However, Armstrong was among the league-leaders in free throw percentage and steals percentage during his prime. In total,Armstrong matched Nick Anderson in some ways, but not in others. Ben gave 3.5 points to Anderson; I gave 2.5 points to Armstrong.
Criterion Four: Individual Awards
Ask, "What are the standout individual achievements on this player's resume and how do they compare to other franchise greats?"
Criterion Five: The Intangibles
This section takes into account the player's personality, contributions to the community and investment in the organization.
Ask yourself, "Is the player a credit to the organization, the city and the league?"
While this category is certainly subjective, it is only 20% of the overall picture so haggling over a point up or down should not make or break a candidate's application.
Armstrong - 5 points
Hardaway - 2 points
O'Neal - 1 point
Notes: Hardaway and O'Neal were certainly local legends, fan favorites, and playoff heros during their time with Orlando, but their amiable departures penalize both players. Armstrong possesses as much intangibles, if not more, than either Hardaway and O'neal had, but without the negative sentiments attached.
Likewise, Armstrong gets rewarded for becoming a coach in the NBA.
Darrell Armstrong - 15 points
Penny 'Anfernee' Hardaway - 21 points
Shaquille O'Neal - 18 points
Notes: Cutoff for "eligibility" is in the 15-17 range on the scale.
The total points awarded to each individual pass the eye test.
Even though Hardaway did leave Orlando on shaky ground, the amount of collateral damage he caused doesn't quite compare to O'Neal's handiwork. As for Armstrong, his intangibles, which were excellent, make up for his numbers, which were good but not great. It can be argued that Armstrong is, at best, a "fringe" candidate to have his jersey retired by the Orlando Magic. As for Hardaway and O'Neal, it'd be a no-brainer to honor both players by hanging their numbers in the arena rafters if it wasn't for the fact that both players burned bridges on their way out of the City Beautiful.
Between the two, Hardaway probably has the better chance of possibly getting his number retired since he hasn't - ahem - said almost anything derogatory or negative towards Orlando since he was traded four scores and seven years ago 10 years ago. Heck, former Magic rookie Courtney Lee even went out of his way to honor Hardaway by donning Air Penny's during the 2009 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. That should count for something, right?
"So you're telling me there's a chance."