For the last of SB Nation NBA's offseason theme days, we bloggers were asked which player from our team's franchise history we would bring back to help our current teams. The Orlando Magic have plenty of obvious candidates, given that three future Hall-of-Fame players--in Shaquille O'Neal, Tracy McGrady, and Dwight Howard--have worn their uniform. But I wanted to take a less obvious approach, one that's in keeping with the team's rebuild following Howard's departure via trade in August 2012.
O'Neal, McGrady, and Howard, for all their brilliance, are simply too talented to lead a rebuilding effort. Putting those players in their primes on the current Orlando team would improve it to such a degree that it wouldn't have much hope of adding a franchise-level star via the 2014 NBA Draft. For this exercise, I wanted to embrace tanking--a practice which, as Tom Ziller has written, isn't nearly the scourge that some people around the league have hyped it to be--while also addressing one of Orlando's personnel needs.
To that end, I'd bring back Pat Garrity, the floor-spacing power forward who spent the final nine years of his 10-year NBA career with Orlando.
At his peak in the early 2000s, Garrity was a useful role player on the McGrady-led Magic squads. To be more specific, Garrity averaged 10 points and 3.6 rebounds per game from 2000/01 to 2002/03. Though not a great rebounder for a power forward, Garrity's best asset was his ability to hit open three-pointers: he shot 41.6 percent from three-point range in his three-year peak, shooting 4.3 triples per game.
And Orlando, as it demonstrated in the 2012/13 season, is deficient in three-point shooters. The Magic ranked 18th in three-point attempts as they stumbled to a league-worst 20-62 record, and their conversion rate of 32.9 percent ranked 29th. The lack of spacing shrunk the floor for the Magic's offense, forcing the likes of Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo to over-extend themselves as shot-creators off the dribble. The Magic might have managed to overcome their poor outside shooting if they could draw fouls, but they did not, by and large, nearly setting an NBA record for free-throw rate futility.
Garrity would address the Magic's needs for three-point marksmanship and floor-spacing while not untracking its rebuilding process; on his own, Garrity would not be worth more than maybe one or two more extra wins per season. While it's true that his presence would continue to cramp Orlando's crowded power forward rotation--it already boasts three rotation-caliber power forwards in Glen Davis, Jason Maxiell, and Andrew Nicholson--it would also render one of the incumbent power forwards expendable. Unloading Davis via trade would open up playing time for Maxiell, Nicholson, and Garrity and could net an asset that could address the Magic's myriad other positional and skill concerns.
Sure, bringing back a franchise-level star like O'Neal would improve Orlando's short-term outlook. But for this exercise, I decided to play the long game.
I now turn the question over to you: if you could bring one player from Magic history to the current team, which one would you choose and why? Let's hear it in the comments.