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Orlando Magic draft history: Looking back on five bad draft nights

2016 NBA Draft Photo by Steve Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images

For any NBA franchise, there are good nights and there are bad nights. That’s true on the court, but that’s also true of draft night.

With the NBA Draft set for this week, the Orlando Magic are hoping to put their three top-33 picks to good use. Draft nights for Orlando however, haven’t always been good.

After previously looking at the good draft nights for Orlando, here are five bad ones – in chronological order:


Picks: Steven Hunter, C (15th overall); Jeryl Sasser, G (22nd overall); Omar Cook, G (32nd overall, traded to Denver Nuggets)

Overview: The Orlando Magic had three of the top 32 picks in the 2001 NBA Draft, but failed to find a major contributor. Center Steven Hunter played in 145 games for the Magic over three seasons, but averaged just 3.5 points and 2.5 rebounds. Sasser spent two seasons with Orlando and played in 82 games, but averaged just 2.6 points and shot a dismal 30% from the field.


Picks: Reece Gaines, G (15th overall); Zaza Pachulia, C (42nd overall)

Overview: The 2003 NBA Draft marked the third straight year that Orlando got virtually nothing from its first-round pick. Louisville guard Reece Gaines was picked 15th overall, but played in just 38 games for the Magic. He averaged 1.8 points and shot 29% from the field. He was involved in the trade that sent Tracy McGrady to the Houston Rockets, but that hardly yielded success for Orlando. Zaza Pachulia went on to have a long, solid NBA career but averaged just 3.3 points and 2.9 rebounds while shooting just 39% in one season with the Magic. Orlando got nothing for him as he was later taken by the Charlotte Bobcats in the NBA Expansion Draft.


Picks: Fran Vazquez, F (11th overall); Travis Diener, G (38th overall); Martynas Andriuskevicius, C (44th overall, traded to Cleveland Cavaliers)

Overview: The 2005 NBA Draft makes a strong case for the worst ever for the Orlando Magic. With their lottery pick, the Magic selected Spanish forward Fran Vazquez. To Orlando’s surprise, Vazquez elected to remain in Spain and has had a long prosperous career there. Of Orlando’s three picks in 2005, only Marquette guard Travis Diener ever played for the Magic. He averaged 3.8 points in 49 career games for Orlando.


Picks: Mario Hezonja, F (fifth overall); Tyler Harvey, G (51st overall)

Overview: With the exception of Chris Webber, who was traded on draft night, Mario Hezonja was the only top-5 pick ever for the Magic who failed to ever average in double figures scoring for the franchise. Taken in front of the likes of Myles Turner, Devin Booker and Terry Rozier, Hezonja was selected fifth overall. In three years with the Magic, Hezonja averaged 6.9 points per game and was often a liability defensively. Orlando’s second-round pick, Tyler Harvey, never played a game in the NBA.


Picks: Domantas Sabonis (11th overall, traded to Oklahoma City Thunder); Stephen Zimmerman (41th overall); Jake Layman (47th overall, traded to Portland Trail Blazers)

Overview: If you’re looking to find out where former general manager Rob Hennigan’s tenure went south, look no further than the 2016 NBA Draft. After selecting Domantas Sabonis 11th overall, the Gonzaga big man and guard Victor Oladipo were sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a trade that brought Serge Ibaka to Orlando. Ibaka would spend just 56 games with the Magic before being dealt to the Toronto Raptors for Terrence Ross. Sabonis and Oladipo, on the other hand, went on to become All-Stars with the Indiana Pacers. Ross has been a solid contributor for the Magic and averaged a career-high 15.6 points per game last season. That’s still lower than the 16 points that Oladipo averaged in his final season with the Magic. Stephen Zimmerman, Orlando’s second-round pick that year, averaged 1.2 points and shot 32% in just 19 career games.