The Orlando Magic will be celebrating their 30th Anniversary as a member of the National Basketball Association during the upcoming 2018-2019 season.
Some festivities have already started to begin. The organization revealed yesterday that the team will be periodically wearing their “iconic, legendary, classic” blue pinstriped uniforms next season. Of course, these uniforms were sported by some of Orlando’s most iconic players in the 1990’s. The Magic also unveiled a new commemorative 30th anniversary logo for next year.
Here at Orlando Pinstriped Post, we thought there was no better time than now to do our part in celebrating the Orlando Magic franchise’s thirty year history. It’s a history that has seen a lot of “up’s”. But early on, and especially in the last six years, the organization has also experienced a lot of “downs”.
As I began to embark on this task of ranking Orlando’s all-time great contributors, I came across some bumps in the road.
How do I compare the numbers put up by role players that played on some of Orlando’s greatest teams with guys that contributed (often in larger roles) amidst losing seasons? Also, how do I account for how much the game has changed in the NBA in the last thirty years (more of a premium on outside shooting, pace, etc.)?
It wasn’t easy; I often felt like I was comparing apples to oranges, so to speak. Some guys won in Orlando, many lost. Some guys were in town for just a couple seasons, others played the majority of their careers for the Magic.
As a general guideline, I tried to set a baseline of 120 games as a minimum that someone would have to play as a member of the Magic to qualify for this list. For example, I did not include Vince Carter (even though he’s a hall of fame player, and arguably the best player to ever come out of Central Florida). Carter is a legend, but for me, he didn’t spend enough time in Orlando to make sense for this activity.
So without further explanation, enjoy this trip down memory lane as I run-down the first ten players (21-30) that I’ve ranked as the best in franchise history.
30. Jeff Turner
7 seasons in Orlando, 411 games played
19.9 MPG, 6.5 PTS, 3.6 REB
Turner was a member of Orlando’s inaugural team, signing a contract with the Magic in July of ‘89 after playing for two years in Italy (he was originally drafted by the New Jersey Nets in ‘84, whom he played with for three seasons).
The Vanderbilt product started 176 games for the Magic. Turner experienced a lot of losing at the beginning of his tenure in Orlando, but also played significant minutes for the Magic as the franchise experienced their first taste of postseason play (‘93-’94).
The 6-9 power forward has served as an Orlando ambassador of sorts since the end of his playing days. Turner worked as the radio color commentator for the Magic in the past, and currently serves as the television color commentator. He was also a very successful head basketball coach in Central Florida, coaching at Lake Highland Prep (State Championship, 2013).
Turner currently ranks eight all-time in Orlando franchise history with 411 games played in pinstripes.
29. Brian Shaw
3 seasons in Orlando, 230 games played
23.4 MPG, 6.7 PTS, 4.6 AST, 2.9 REB
Shaw served as a key cog off Orlando’s bench during some of their best seasons in franchise history (‘94-’97).
Shaw, who signed with the Magic in the summer of ‘94, brought over 20 games of playoff experience with him from his previous stints with the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. The Oakland product provided the team with steady leadership at both guard positions (behind Anfernee Hardaway and Nick Anderson).
The 6-6 guard ranks top-10 all-time in Orlando franchise history in assists (9th), assists per game (9th), and assist percentage (7th).
28. Pat Garrity
9 seasons in Orlando, 513 games played
20.5 MPG, 7.4 PTS, 2.7 REB, 39.8% 3PT
A stretch-forward before his time, Garrity attempted nearly half of his field goal attempts for the Magic from behind the three-point line.
Garrity played nine of his ten career NBA seasons in Orlando, making the playoffs with the Magic on four separate occasions. The Notre Dame product averaged in double-figures in back-to-back years while in pinstripes (2001-2003).
Garrity currently sits fourth all-time in Orlando franchise history with 513 games played. He also ranks among Orlando’s all-time leaders in three-point field goals (7th) and three-point percentage (7th).
27. Arron Afflalo
3 seasons in Orlando, 190 games played
29.2 MPG, 13.5 PTS, 3.0 REB, 2.5 AST
Okay, maybe Afflalo’s second stint in Orlando this past season wasn’t nearly enough to warrant mention, but he’s here on this list because of his first go-around with the organization.
Afflalo led the Magic in scoring for two straight years, albeit two incredibly bad seasons for the franchise (from ‘12-’14). Afflalo’s two highest career scoring averages for a season both came while playing in Orlando (16.5 and 18.2 points per game respectively).
The UCLA product was infamously acquired as part of the Dwight Howard four-team trade that also netted the Magic Al Harrington, Josh McRoberts, Maurice Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, and three future picks (Romero Osby, Dario Saric, Wes Iwundu).
Afflalo was traded on draft night in 2014 to the Denver Nuggets for Evan Fournier. He re-signed with the Magic three years later (played for the veteran’s minimum last season). The Compton-native started 140 games in pinstripes.
He scored 20 or more points in a contest on 49 occasions with Orlando.
26. Sam Vincent
3 seasons in Orlando, 151 games played
23.3 MPG, 10.1 PTS, 4.6 AST, 2.7 REB
Vincent is the “O.G.” of the Orlando organization, he started at point guard for the Magic during their inaugural ‘89-’90 season. He was honored by the organization during their 25th anniversary “Legends Night” campaign five seasons ago (2014).
The Michigan State product spent the final three years of his seven year NBA career playing for the Magic. Vincent was Orlando’s fourth selection (7th overall) during the 1989 NBA Expansion Draft. He also played for the Boston Celtics, Seattle SuperSonics, and Chicago Bulls.
Vincent ranks fifth all-time in Orlando franchise history with a 85.6% free throw percentage. He also ranks top-ten on the franchise's all-time assists per game (8th) and assist percentage (6th) lists.
25. Donald Royal
6 seasons in Orlando, 288 games played
20.3 MPG, 7.8 PTS, 3.4 REB
Royal was the ultimate glue-guy for the Magic in the mid-90’s. People forget, he started 68 games on the ‘94-’95 team that went to the Finals (Dennis Scott came off the bench in the regular season, mostly started in place of Royal during that playoff run).
Royal was one of the more efficient players in Magic history. However, times in the NBA were very different over twenty years ago. Playing the small forward position, Royal was not a threat stretched out beyond the three-point line (0-14 in his eight year NBA career). But he did score in double-digits over 100 times in Orlando.
The Notre Dame product ranks third all-time in franchise history with a 59% true shooting percentage. He also sits in the top-10 all-time in franchise history in the following categories: Offensive Rating (6th), field goal percentage (9th), and free throw’s made (10th).
24. Aaron Gordon (entering his 5th season in Orlando - 263 games: 11.4 PTS, 5.8 REB, 1.7 AST) and Elfrid Payton (4 seasons in Orlando - 281 games: 11.1 PTS, 6.4 AST, 4.2 REB)
And now we arrive at the first members on this list that were originally drafted by the Magic (both drafted in the lottery in 2014).
Like I mentioned above, I really had a hard time deciding what to do with guys in Orlando’s modern/current era. There has just been so much losing.
To cut to the chase, I just couldn’t bring myself to not include Elfrid Payton on this list. I know that seems odd; I certainly didn’t plan on including him when I began this endeavor.
Payton has such a convoluted legacy with the Magic. His defensive awareness always left much more to be desired. His outside shooting ability was next to non-existent. Frankly, it was mostly a struggle for the Magic to win games with Payton orchestrating the offense.
But he did put up numbers. Sure, they were empty stats accrued during non-competitive contests as the organization limped towards multiple losing seasons. Still, I can’t ignore the fact that Payton’s name rests all over some of Orlando’s all-time lists.
Is he a winning player? Does he routinely make a lot of winning plays? No.
That’s not really what I’m trying to get into with this list though. Comparing the numbers/contributions from guys in Orlando’s past that were on winning teams with Payton’s numbers was a chore.
Ultimately, the fact that Payton’s 6.4 assists per game sits 3rd all-time in franchise history, along with being 7th all-time in total assists, was enough to qualify him to be included (for me). Counting stats, I know (ducks). He is the franchise’s all-time assist percentage leader, so there’s that. The Louisiana native is also sixth all-time in Orlando franchise history in steals per game and steal percentage (and of course, owns the team record for most triple-doubles).
Like Payton, Aaron Gordon has struggled with consistency over his four seasons in Orlando. Consistency staying on the floor, with his shot, playing within himself. Including Gordon on this list was more of a nod in recognition of what he will eventually accomplish in a Magic uniform, not necessarily what he already has.
Gordon has suffered through multiple coaching changes in Orlando, as well as getting tossed around between multiple positions while on the floor. However, he’s coming off a season last year in which he saw his scoring average rise to 17.6 points per game.
You won’t find Gordon on any Magic all-time leaderboards, at least not yet. But the Arizona product just signed a 4-yr./$84M contract to stay in pinstripes for the foreseeable future, so it’s safe to assume that he will be climbing up those lists very soon.
23. Rony Seikaly
2 seasons in Orlando, 121 games played
33.9 MPG, 16.4 PTS, 8.7 REB, 1.2 BLK
Thought I was going to forget about Rony, didn’t you? “Seik”. Sorry, I’ll stop.
I remember Seikaly as the unfortunate soul that happened to replace Shaquille O’Neal. That really was tough timing for him.
But in reality, the big man from Lebanon could play a little bit. Seikaly’s highest career scoring average (17.3 PPG) occurred while playing with the Magic in ‘96-’97. He finished with 32 double-doubles that season while scoring 30 or points in a game on four occasions.
Seikaly played the majority of his career for the Miami Heat. The Magic acquired him in a trade from the Golden State Warriors, and then dealt him to the New Jersey Nets fifteen months later (for a first round pick - Magic selected Matt Harpring).
Seikaly’s 8.7 rebounds per game in Orlando ranks fourth all-time in Magic history. He’s also a part of the following Orlando all-time leader-boards: points per game (7th), blocks per game (5th), PER (10th), and offensive rebound percentage (10th).
22. Jerry Reynolds
3 seasons in Orlando, 193 games played
25.0 MPG, 12.7 PTS, 4.0 REB, 2.8 AST
The Brooklyn native played eight years in the NBA, and the best of those years came while playing for the Magic (‘89-’92). Reynolds also played for the Milwaukee Bucks (22nd pick in the ‘85 Draft) and the Seattle SuperSonics.
He was Orlando’s seventh selection (13th overall) in the ‘89 NBA Expansion Draft.
Reynolds was a versatile player for the Magic, mostly coming off the bench during his time in Orlando. At 6-8, the LSU product was able to cover both wing positions.
Reynolds’ 1.3 steals per game ranks eighth all-time in Orlando franchise history (4th in steal percentage).
21. JJ Redick
7 seasons in Orlando, 396 career games
21.9 MPG, 9.2 PTS, 1.9 AST, 39.8% 3PT%
In June of 2005, the Orlando Magic selected Fran Vazquez with the 11th overall pick. This selection amounted to absolutely nothing, because as we all know, the Spanish big man would never come over to the states to play in the NBA.
Again slotted with the 11th pick in the NBA Draft one year later, the Magic needed a sure thing. Someone that could contribute (or at least be willing to play for the team). And the Magic got that kind of player in Redick, who was an All-American standout at Duke University (Duke’s all-time leading scorer, briefly was the ACC’s all-time leading scorer).
Or so we thought. The fan-base was ecstatic to have Redick on board, at least I know I was. But Redick really struggled to get minutes through his first three seasons in Orlando under head coaches Brian Hill and Stan Van Gundy. The fleeting moments at the end of games when Redick did get off the bench were often the only opportunities Magic fans had to support him.
Redick’s career really took off with the Magic in his fourth NBA season (‘09-’10), a year in which he played over 20 minutes per game for the first time in his career (and appeared in all 82 games). His breakout year in 2010 was actually set-up by the fact that he served as a key contributor off the bench during Orlando’s NBA Finals run the previous season (started 8 of 16 games in the ‘09 playoffs).
Redick signed a three-year, $20 million dollar offer sheet with the Chicago Bulls during his restricted free agency summer of 2010. Somewhat surprisingly, the Magic matched that offer and retained Redick for the next three seasons.
Give Redick some credit; many thought that the Roanoke-native wasn’t going to stick in the NBA. But he stayed patient, he exhaustively worked on his defensive craft, and he grinded his way into Stan Van Gundy’s circle of trust (and a second NBA contract).
One of the best shooters to ever play for the Magic, Redick ranks third all-time in Orlando franchise history with an Offensive Rating of 115.87. He also ranks 7th all-time in three-point field goals, 8th in three point percentage, 3rd in free throw percentage, and 6th in true shooting percentage.
So there it is, my first ten (actually, eleven) all-time Magic players. Feel free to start the debate below in the comments section. Tell me everything I did wrong!
Please plan on returning to our site later this month when I reveal the next ten guys on my list.
*Credit - Statistical information used in this piece was acquired through Basketball Reference.