The Orlando Magic is a National Basketball
Association team based in Orlando, Florida
Magic Draft History
The Orlando Magic officially entered the NBA as an expansion franchise
in 1989. Led by former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Pat Williams,
the Magic hired Matt Guokas as the team's first coach. The inaugural
team compiled a record of 18-64 with players including Reggie Theus,
Scott Skiles (now current coach of the Chicago Bulls), Terry Catledge,
Sam Vincent, Otis Smith, and Jerry Reynolds. In the club's first draft
in 1989, the Magic chose Nick Anderson with the 11th pick in the first
The club's first game was on November 4, 1989, at the Orlando Arena
(O-Rena). Despite playing a hard-fought game, the visiting New Jersey
Nets won 111- 106. The Magic's first victory came 2 days later, as the
Magic pounded the New York Knicks 118- 110.
In the 1990 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic selected Dennis Scott with the
fourth overall pick. Scott, known as a sharpshooter, helped the Magic
compile a 31 - 51 record. Combined with the fast-paced energy style of
Skiles, who was named the NBA's Most Improved Player at the end of the
season, the Magic heralded the NBA's most improved record that season.
1992 was a disappointing season for the Magic, who finished with a 21 -
61 record. The team was hampered by injuries, and struggled through a
franchise-record 17-game losing streak.
The club's history was changed dramatically with the 1992 Draft. With
the first overall pick, the Magic selected big-man Shaquille O'Neal from
Louisiana State University. O'Neal, a 7-1 center, made an immediate
impact on the Magic, leading the club to a 41 - 41 record. The Magic
again were the NBA's most improved franchise, and O'Neal garnered
All-Star starter status and the Rookie of the Year award. However, the
Magic missed that year's playoffs, because they were tied with the
Indiana Pacers for the 8th (and final) playoff spot in the Eastern
Conference and because the Pacers owned the tiebreaker.
Missing out on the playoffs had a silver lining: despite having the
NBA's best non-playoff record (and thereby the least chance of gaining
the top draft pick), the Magic once again won the NBA draft lottery. In
the draft, the Magic selected Chris Webber, but traded him to the Golden
State Warriors for the number three pick, guard Anfernee Hardaway (known
as "Penny" Hardaway) and three future first-round draft picks. Prior to
the draft, Guokas stepped down as head coach, and Brian Hill was
promoted to become the Magic's second coach. Also, General Manager Pat
Williams was replaced by John Gabriel.
With the lethal combination of O'Neal and Hardaway, the Magic became a
dominant team in the NBA, compiling the first 50 win season in franchise
history with a 50-32 record. The Magic were in the playoffs for the
first time, ranked the second seed in the Eastern Conference. However,
the underdog Pacers team swept the Magic 3-0 in the first round, thus
ending the Magic's season.
However, in the 1994-1995 season, the Magic's sixth season, after
acquiring rebounder Horace Grant as a free agent from the Chicago Bulls,
Orlando compiled a 57-25 record, best in the East and winning the
Atlantic Conference title. In the playoffs, the Magic defeated the
Boston Celtics, Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls, and the Indiana Pacers,
advancing to the NBA Finals. The Houston Rockets, though, ended
Orlando's dream of a championship by sweeping Orlando 4-0 in the Finals
to take the crown.
In the 1995-1996 season, the Magic again dominated the Eastern
Conference and the Atlantic Division with a 60-22 record, led by O'Neal
and Hardaway. However, the Magic were seeded number two, behind the
amazing 72-10 record the Chicago Bulls accumulated under Michael Jordan.
In the playoffs, after the Magic defeated the Detroit Pistons and the
Atlanta Hawks, Orlando met the Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals.
The combination of Jordan, Scottie Pippen and rebounder Dennis Rodman
was too much for the Magic, and Orlando was swept 4-0 in the Eastern
In the offseason, in a huge blow to the Magic franchise, O'Neal left as
a free agent to the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the Magic still
mananged to compile a 45-37 record, led by Hardaway, Darrell Armstrong,
the team's emotional leader, and newly-acquired free agent Rony Seikaly.
In the playoffs, the Magic came close to stunning the heavily favored
Miami Heat in the first round, extending the series to a classic game
five, even after losing the first two games. In the middle of the
season, though, urged by player discontent, management fired coach Brian
Hill and named Richie Adubato as interim coach for the rest of the
The Magic then hired Chuck Daly to be head coach for the 1997-1998
season. In addition, Hall of Famer Julius Erving joined the Magic's
front office, giving Orlando immense hope for a successful season.
However, the season was hampered by injuries, as Hardaway sat out the
majority of the season . Anderson, combined with newly acquired free
agent Bo Outlaw, led the team to a respectable 41-41 record, just out of
reach of the NBA playoffs. In addition, Rony Seikaly was traded during
the season to the New Jersey Nets for three role players and a future
In 1998-1999, with the acquisition of Matt Harpring and Michael Doleac
and a healthy Hardaway and Anderson, the Magic tied for the Eastern
Conference's best record in the lockout-shortened season, 33-17.
Armstrong again led the team emotionally, winning the NBA's Sixth-Man
and Most Improved Player awards. In addition, Orlando also acquired
brothers Dominique and Gerald Wilkins, who were past their primes but
were still regarded as NBA greats. In the playoffs, though, the Magic
were seeded number 3 because of tiebreakers and faced the Philadelphia
76ers. The 76ers, led by Allen Iverson, upset the Magic 3-1 in the first
In 1999, the Magic, under General Manager John Gabriel, who was later
named Executive of the Year, hired rookie-coach Doc Rivers. Gabriel
dismantled the previous team and acquired multiple future first round
draft picks. With a team with virtually no name players and little
experience, Rivers and Armstrong, the team captain, led the Magic to a
41-41 record, barely missing out on the playoffs. At the end of the
season Rivers was named Coach of the Year by the NBA. This year was
characterized by the slogan "Heart and Hustle", as the team was known
for its hard-working style.
In the following offseason, Gabriel, with millions of cleared salary cap
space, attempted to lure three of the NBA's most prized free agents: Tim
Duncan, Grant Hill, and Tracy McGrady. Despite Duncan opting to remain
with the San Antonio Spurs, the Magic acquired Hill, a perenial
All-Star, and McGrady. However, Hill was limited to 4 games because of
an ankle injury. McGrady blossomed into a star during this season,
becoming one of the NBA's top scorers. With the addition of Mike Miller
from the draft, the Magic compiled a 43-39 record, which included a
nine-game winning streak, and once again made the playoffs. Miller won
the Rookie of the Year that season.
In 2001-2002, McGrady lead the Magic to a winning record of 44-38.
However, Hill was still severely limited by his ankle injury and did not
play for the vast majority of the season. McGrady, combined with
Armstrong, Miller, and 3-point sharpshooter Pat Garrity, formed the core
of the team that season. However, the Magic were defeated 3-1 by the
Charlotte Hornets (the team has since relocated, becoming the New
In 2002-2003, with the acquisition of Gordon Giricek and Drew Gooden,
McGrady once again led the Magic to a 42-40 record. Despite still not
having Hill due to injury, the Magic entered the playoffs for the third
straight year. However, after taking a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven
first round series, the Magic faltered and fell to the Detroit Pistons
4-3 in a heartbreaker.
The Magic's 15th season in 2003-2004 proved to be one of its toughest
ever. Even with the acquisition of veterans Tyronn Lue and Juwan Howard,
the Magic struggled early. After winning its first game, the Magic lost
19 consecutive games, setting a franchise record. The Magic finished
with a disappointing 21-61 record, the worst in the NBA. In the middle
of the 19-game losing streak, coach Doc Rivers was fired, and assistant
Johnny Davis was promoted. In addition, general manager Gabriel was
replaced by John Weisbrod.
In the offseason, Weisbrod dismantled the team. Though he kept Davis at
coach, he shook up the player roster, only keeping a few of the players
from last season. The most significant trade was that of Tracy McGrady.
McGrady, discontent with the Magic, wished to move on; Weisbrod accused
McGrady of "slacking off" and not attending practices (McGrady later
admitted that he did not give 100% percent during the 2003-2004 season).
The Magic traded McGrady to the Houston Rockets for Steve Francis,
Kelvin Cato, and Cuttino Mobley. In addition, the Magic acquired center
Tony Battie from the Cleveland Cavaliers (in exchange for Drew Gooden,
Steven Hunter, and the draft rights to Anderson Varejao) and signed free
agent Hedo Turkoglu. With the number one draft pick, the Magic selected
high-school phenom Dwight Howard and traded for point guard Jameer
Nelson. Nelson, who most scouts speculated to be a top-10 pick, fell to
the 20th pick, and the Magic traded a future first-round draft pick to
the Denver Nuggets for Nelson.
After a promising 13-6 start, the Magic began to fall apart. First,
Weisbrod traded Mobley for Doug Christie from the Sacramento Kings.
Christie, because of his emotional ties to the Kings, at first refused
to play for the Magic. Later on, Christie claimed he had bone spurs and
was placed on the injured list after playing only a few games for the
Magic. Near the end of the season, with a playoff-push faltering,
Weisbrod fired Davis after leading Davis to believe he was going to be
the team's head coach for the entire 2004-2005 NBA season. He then
promoted Chris Jent to interim head coach.
Throughout the season, bolstered by Hill's return, the Magic played
spectacularly, defeating top NBA teams such as the San Antonio Spurs and
the Detroit Pistons. However, led by the erratic play of Francis, the
Magic also lost to league bottom-feeders, such as the expansion
Charlotte Bobcats and the Atlanta Hawks. However, Howard showed great
promise, becoming one of the few players to average a double-double.
Howard was a consistant rebounder and scorer, becoming the first rookie
to start and play all 82 games in a season. In addition, Nelson, after a
slow start, developed into a talented player, taking over the starting
point guard position. Hill also returned and averaged 19 points a game.
Hill was chosen an All-Star starter by NBA fans, and Dwight Howard and
Jameer Nelson were named to the All-Rookie first and second teams,
respectfully. Howard was an unanimous selection.
The Magic finished the season with a 36-46 record, disappointing after a
strong start. Their playoff push was hampered by injuries in the last
quarter of the season: a season-ending broken wrist for sixth man Hedo
Turkoglu, a shin injury to Grant Hill, a rib cage injury to Nelson, and
a three-game suspension to Francis for allegedly kicking a photographer.
In the end, the Magic ended a few games out of the playoffs. However,
the promise for the future is great, as the club hopes to build around
Howard, Hill, Francis, and Nelson and become a playoff contender with a
On May 23, however, the Magic's plans were disrupted by the abrupt
resignation of General Manager and Chief Operating Officer John Weisbrod.
In addition, the Magic announced the following day that Brian Hill, the
coach who led the Magic to the NBA Finals under O'Neal and Hardaway,
would return as head coach.
The Magic drafted Spaniard Fran Vazquez with the 11th pick in the 2005
NBA Draft. On July 28, Vazquez stunned the team after announcing that he
will remain in Spain to play for Akasvayu Girona.
Owner Rich DeVos announced on October 21 that he was transferring
ownership to his children, with the official owner role moving to
son-in-law and team President Bob Vander Weide. The transfer is supposed
to be complete by the end of the year. 
Players of note
Basketball Hall of Famers
Chuck Daly (coach)
Not to be forgotten
List of Magic players who previously starred with other teams