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Checking-in on former Magic players around the league

Aaron reacquaints us with how some former Magic players are doing around the association this season.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

My idea for this piece was actually born last May-June. It seemed like every night that I tuned in to check out a playoff game, there was someone in one of (if not both) the lineups that used to play for the Magic.

Look, no one wants to be that person who constantly obsesses over an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter account, etc. I’m not trying to dwell too much on the past here, or attempt to open back up old scars.

This isn’t even a Rob Hennigan-bashing article. Believe me, I’ve written a couple of those. But he’s not solely responsible for sending out of town all of the guys on this list.

This is just a friendly reunion piece if you will. A check in on former Magic players who are still active in the NBA. Some guys on this list played hundreds of games in Orlando, others just a season or two. Some players (Ersan Ilyasova, Ish Smith, Jason Smith, Jodie Meeks, etc.) were admittedly left out of the discussion for now (for the sake of the length of the article).

I hope everyone enjoys this trip down memory lane. Please feel free to leave your comments below!

Dewayne Dedmon (3 seasons, 133 games with the Magic)

Dedmon is averaging a career high in points (11.1), rebounds (7.8), and minutes (24.3) for the Hawks this season (20 starts). Dedmon missed both contests against the Magic this week due to injury. He is expected to miss the next three to six weeks with a left tibia injury.

Dedmon found a home in the NBA with the Magic. His qualifying offer in the summer of 2016 was rescinded after the team decided to trade for Serge Ibaka and sign Bismack Biyombo.

Dwight Howard (8 seasons, 621 games for the Magic)

In his 14th season in the league, Howard is averaging 15.7 points and 12.4 rebounds (25 starts) for the Hornets. Charlotte is Howard’s third team he’s played for in the last three seasons.

Howard, a first-ballot Hall of Fame candidate, has still played over 60 percent of his career NBA games as a member of the Orlando Magic. In contests against the Magic already this season, Howard has averaged 17 points and 9 boards (in two Charlotte wins).

Jeff Green (1 season, 69 games for the Magic)

Green is filling a major role in Cleveland’s rotation this season. He’s appeared in all 27 of their contests, and is averaging just under 22 minutes of action per game. Green is scoring 10.4 points per game and shooting over 50% from the field on the season, something he’s never accomplished for a season in his NBA career.

Tobias Harris (4 seasons, 205 games for the Magic)

Harris, playing in his age 25 season and third season with the Pistons, is having the best year of his career. Harris is averaging a career high 18.8 points per game in ‘17-’18, while notably shooting 46% on three-point attempts. Harris is regularly playing further from the basket in Stan Van Gundy’s system than he did for the Magic, so his rebounding numbers are a little down.

If Harris continues his strong play, he will at least be in the conversation for an All-Star selection (still pretty tough with Porter, Middleton, Tatum, Porzingis, Love, Embiid, Drummond, and Horford having All-Star caliber seasons as well. James and Antetokounmpo are of course locks).

Zaza Pachulia (1 season, 59 games for the Magic)

That’s right younger Magic fans, Zaza Pachulia was once on the Orlando Magic. Pachulia has enjoyed a 15-year career in the NBA playing for five organizations to this point, but his journey began in Orlando. Pachulia has been the starting center for all 95 games he’s played in for Golden State over the last two seasons. He’s averaging 5.0 points and just under 5.0 rebounds this season (on a career high 56% from the floor). By the end of this season, he will have played in over 1,000 NBA games. Not bad for a former 42nd overall pick out of Georgia (that would be the country, not the state).

Ryan Anderson (3 seasons, 188 games for the Magic)

It’s hard to believe that one of the all-time Magic fan favorites, Ryan Anderson, is now playing in his 10th season in the NBA. Anderson, who will be 30 at the conclusion of this season, is currently shooting a career high 42% on three-point attempts (just under seven attempts per game). Anderson has started at power forward for 22 of Houston’s 24 contests (28.9 MPG) and is making a healthy $19.5 million dollars this season.

Trevor Ariza (3 seasons, 89 games for the Magic)

Ariza is currently averaging 11.5 points and 1.7 steals, while shooting 40% on three-point attempts, in his 14th season in the NBA. Ariza has spent the last four seasons in Houston, serving as the Rockets’ starting small forward. Ariza played for the Magic for three seasons in his early 20’s, and then won an NBA title with the Lakers (by defeating the Magic).

Victor Oladipo (3 seasons, 224 games for the Magic)

Like Harris, Oladipo is having the best year of his career in his age 25 season. Oladipo is averaging a career high 23.6 points per game as the featured guard in Indiana’s offense. Oladipo is also averaging career highs in steals, blocks, rebounds, free-throw makes & attempts, three-point makes & attempts (on 44% from distance), and field goal makes & attempts. He’s scored 30 or points four times already this season.

Oladipo has stiff competition in the Eastern Conference at the shooting guard position (DeMar DeRozan, Bradley Beal), but for now, seems poised to be recognized as an All-Star for the first time in his career.

Jameer Nelson (10 seasons, 651 with the Magic)

Nelson, one of the most beloved Magic players of all-time, will be turning 36 this February. Nelson is currently in his 14th season in the NBA, the first 10 of those being with the Magic. Nelson is now with New Orleans, his fourth team in the last four seasons. Nelson is averaging 6.0 points and 4.3 assists for the Pelicans serving as their back-up point guard.

E’Twaun Moore (2 seasons, 154 games with the Magic)

E’Twaun Moore, now in his seventh NBA season, really got his break in the NBA with the Magic back in ‘12-’13. He is now the starting shooting guard for the New Orleans Hornets, and is averaging a career high 12.4 points per game. Moore, a career 38% three-point shooter, is connecting at a career high 45% clip this season (on 3.8 attempts).

Kyle O’Quinn (3 seasons, 177 games with the Magic)

Another Magic fan favorite, O’Quinn, is in his third season playing for his hometown New York Knicks. The former Hennigan second round pick by the Magic is averaging 6.2 points and a career high 6.1 rebounds this season (in 16.3 minutes per game). O’Quinn is also contributing a career high 2.0 assists per game. O’Quinn serves as New York’s back-up center to Enes Kanter.

Courtney Lee (1 season, 77 games for the Magic)

It’s been a decade since the Magic made Lee their first round pick (22nd overall) in the 2008 draft. Lee, who only played one year for the Magic, is currently in his 10th NBA season playing for his seventh organization. Lee, a career 39% marksman from three-point range, is shooting a career high 45% on three-point attempts this season. For the Knicks, Lee (25 starts) is scoring a career high 13.2 points per game.

I still think that series goes at least seven games (if not a completely different result altogether) if Lee converts that layup at the end of Game 1 in ‘09.

J.J. Redick (7 seasons, 396 games with the Magic)

My all-time favorite college player (as well as one of my favorite former Magic players) is getting paid this season. Redick had $23 million reasons to trust the process and sign a one-year deal with the Sixers this year.

Redick, serving as Philadelphia’s starting shooting guard, is averaging 16.1 points and 3.5 assists on the season. He’s shooting just under 40% on his three-point attempts (career-high 6.4 attempts per game). Redick torched the Magic at the end of November to the tune of 29 points, which included eight three-point makes.

Redick, in his 12th NBA season, will turn 34 at the conclusion of this year.

Shabazz Napier (1 season, 55 games with the Magic)

Napier’s stay in the City Beautiful was very short-lived. The former first round pick of the Miami Heat played just 10.9 minutes per game for the Magic in ‘15-’16, a season in which he shot a career worst 34% from the floor.

For the moment, Napier seems to have found a home in Portland backing-up All-Star point guard Damian Lillard. Napier is shooting 48% on three-point attempts and averaging a career high 7.3 points per game (16.3 minutes).

Earlier this season, Napier had a revenge game against his former team; he scored a season high 19 points (5-5 3PTA’s) against the Magic.

Maurice Harkless (3 seasons, 201 games with the Magic)

Harkless, who came to Orlando his rookie season as part of the Dwight Howard trade, was a guy that always seemed to leave Magic fans wanting more. He would show flashes at times, but also go through long stretches of inconsistency.

It originally seemed as if Harkless just needed a change of scenery. When he was dealt to Portland in ‘15-’16, Harkless immediately became a large part of what the Blazers were doing.

But now in the second year of his second NBA contract (he is making just over $10 million this season), Harkless is averaging 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds (41% FG%, 25% 3PT%).

Vince Carter (2 seasons, 97 games with the Magic)

Being the prodigal son of my hometown, Daytona Beach, I grew up watching Vince Carter play in high school. I even ran into him a few times at the local rec center playing pick-up games when he was home on break during his time at North Carolina.

It’s hard to imagine Carter is now 40 years old, currently playing in his 20th NBA season. Carter is now with the Sacramento Kings, his seventh NBA franchise. In a limited role playing behind Garrett Temple, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Justin Jackson, Carter is averaging a career low 3.0 points per game (13.4 minutes).

Serge Ibaka (1 season, 56 games with the Magic)

So many emotions when I see the name Serge Ibaka, so many emotions. Of course, Ibaka was acquired by the Magic on draft night in 2016 (along with Ersan Ilyasova) for Victor Oladipo and the rights to lottery pick Domantas Sabonis, despite the fact that he was under contract for only one more season.

Seven months later, Ibaka was again dealt, this time by the Magic to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Terrence Ross and a late first round pick in the 2017 draft (which was traded away).

Ibaka has started every game in Toronto since he was acquired. This season, he’s averaging 12.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per contest. Ibaka is making just over $20 million dollars this season in the first year of a three-year deal.

Marcin Gortat (4 seasons, 175 games with the Magic)

Gortat, who will be 34 this year in his 11th NBA season, is a former Magic player that fans have had a chance to see a lot of over the years. Gortat has spent the past five years in Washington, an Atlantic division foe of Orlando’s.

Gortat backed-up Dwight Howard during his time in Orlando, but has been a starter in the NBA ever since. This season, Gortat is averaging 9.2 points and 8.6 rebounds, season lows for Gortat during his time in our nation’s capital.

Again, I hope you enjoyed this look-in around the league. This reunion was #Pure(Former)Magic. Leave your comments below.