Since @NBA2K tweeted that All-Time Teams will be part of the newest installment of the franchise, it begs the question: who deserves a place on the Magic’s All-Time roster?
We don’t know yet who they’ll pick, how they’ll be picking them, or how many will make the cut, but we can certainly speculate who should be on the team. Here’s the rules I used to pick my top-15:
- All-NBA voting rules. That means picking three teams, each of which has two guards, two forwards, and a center, for a total of 15 players. Naturally, we can take a few liberties here and there with players who might straddle the line between guard and forward or forward and center.
- Duplicate players are allowed across franchises. Shaquille O’Neal is a lock to make the Los Angeles Lakers All-Time team, but that won’t stop me from putting him on the Magic’s team, too.
- We’re going by on-court performance rather than mythical video game status. Maybe you have fond memories of Mike Miller being a legendary video game rookie or something like that, but that won’t get him onto this list.
- Importance to the franchise earns you a small bump. It’s important that we get to play with the most iconic players in team history, but the most important goal is to build the best team possible.
Without further ado, let’s kick things off with our top-5...
All-Magic First Team:
The most controversial pick here is Jameer Nelson over Magic legend Nick Anderson. Anderson’s status as the Magic’s first homegrown talent has already cemented him in the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame, and while he can’t be denied a spot on the All-Time team, I ultimately ranked Nelson ahead of him. Nelson’s All-Star play in 2009 fueled the Magic’s perimeter attack, and his injury might be the only thing that kept Orlando from their very first championship. I won’t lie, there’s a lot of personal bias creeping in here, but in my mind Nelson is the second-best guard in Magic history.
Penny, Shaq, and T-Mac are no-brainers on the first team, and are joined by Rashard Lewis, the versatile stretch forward that took the Magic’s offense to the next level during his All-Star 2009 season and into the next year. In many ways, Lewis was the prototype of the modern stretch-4 that’s practically mandatory for top teams in today’s NBA: a long forward who can cover players on the perimeter while punishing slow-footed bigs on the other end who can’t get out to the 3-point line very easily.
All-Magic Second Team:
Here’s where things get more difficult, and more interesting. Nick Anderson probably makes the first-team for a lot of people, and there was no way he was dropping past second-team. Hedo, to me, was a lock to make the top-15, but it was tough deciding whether he belonged to the second or third team over Grant Hill (more on him later). Ultimately, his cult-hero status, his clutch shot-making in the Magic’s Finals run, and his unique point-forward skillset were enough to put him in the top-10.
3-D might be the best long-range shooter in Magic history, and he shot in an era that didn’t value those shots the same way we do today, perhaps amplifying his accomplishments. He was a double-digit scorer every season he played for Orlando, and a major weapon on one of the most dominant Magic teams in franchise history.
Vince Carter is the first player that I’ve included that might not be on most people’s lists, but the more I considered it the more I’m sure he’s one of the best shooting guards the Magic have ever had. His short time with the team hurts him, and he wasn’t part of either Finals team, but he was a crucial part of the 2010 team that many fans consider the best team in franchise history. Redick—a controversial pick in his own right—was considered for second team, but Carter’s two seasons were each better than any Redick had.
Dwight is the second-best player in franchise history. The only reason he had to be on the second team is because the best player was also a center.
All-Magic Third Team:
Vucevic’s spot here still doesn’t feel right, and when I first saw him on other people’s lists my gut reaction was, “Hold on, is he really the third-best center in franchise history?” If you were bent on keeping him off the list, you could finagle some things, maybe bring in Bo Outlaw or shift Horace over to center, but ultimately I opted to keep him. The post-Dwight rebuild has been among the worst stretches in franchise history, but his scoring and shooting ability as a center has made him the centerpiece of the Magic’s offense for the past five years.
Darrell has long been an underrated part of Magic history since his best seasons came after the mid-90s heyday, but he was a solid scorer who played hard on both ends. Horace Grant was much the same at a similar point in Magic history, earning his nickname “The Enforcer.”
Redick is a tough inclusion because his production in a bench role was so low for multiple seasons, but he grew to be a two-way force by the time he was traded from the Magic. His longevity with the team and his status as a fan favorite earns him bonus points.
Lastly, Grant Hill will forever be remembered as a disappointment thanks to his injuries throughout his Magic tenure, but he was still a multi-time All-Star in pinstripes, and his peak seasons are worth immortalizing in the 2K All-Time team.
Got any disagreements? Drop your All-Time Magic team in the comments!