Mohamed Bamba became the latest first-round pick of the Orlando Magic on Thursday night when he was selected sixth overall.
Traditionally, first-round picks have been a mixed bag for Orlando, including for big men. Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard led the franchise to new heights while stays for the likes of Steven Hunter, Brian Williams and Stanley Roberts were short.
In this next exercise, we’ll count down the top 10 first-round picks for the Magic in franchise history. The list examines the careers of picks while with Orlando. Draft-day acquisitions such as Anfernee Hardaway and Jameer Nelson will not be included. Neither will players like Keyon Dooling, who was drafted by Orlando and traded before later signing with the team as a veteran.
10. Matt Harpring, F (1998-2000)
Selected: 15th overall in 1998 (Georgia Tech)
Orlando Stats: 7.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 44% 3-pointers
Matt Harpring had a productive NBA career, which got off to a productive start with the Orlando Magic. Harpring scored better than nine points per game and appeared in all 50 contests during the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season. Harpring played in just four games the next season because of injury.
9. Courtney Lee, G (2008-09)
Selected: 22nd overall in 2008 (Western Kentucky)
Orlando Stats: 8.4 points, 1.0 steals, 45% field goals
Courtney Lee’s stay in Orlando lasted just one year, but Lee played in 77 games and made 42 starts for an Orlando team that reached the NBA Finals for just the second time in franchise history. Despite battling a jaw injury, Lee averaged eight points per game in the postseason.
8. J.J. Redick, G (2006-12)
Selected: 11th overall in 2006 (Duke)
Orlando Stats: 9.2 points, 1.9 assists, 40% 3-pointers
Drafted as a sharpshooter from Duke, J.J. Redick evolved into a fan favorite during his time with the Magic. Redick averaged in double-figures scoring and shot better than 40 percent from deep over his final two seasons in Orlando.
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7. Aaron Gordon, F (2014-present)
Selected: 4th overall in 2014 (Arizona)
Orlando Stats: 11.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 45% field goals
Drafted for his raw athleticism, Aaron Gordon has transformed into the cornerstone of the Orlando franchise. The athleticism hasn’t left Gordon, but his offensive game has become more polished over his first four years. Gordon ranked second on the team in scoring and rebounding last season.
6. Victor Oladipo, G (2013-16)
Selected: 2nd overall in 2013 (Indiana)
Orlando Stats: 15.9 points, 4.0 assists, 1.6 steals
Used as a combo guard, Victor Oladipo brought excitement to an noncompetitive Orlando team over three years before being inexplicably traded to Oklahoma City and going on to earn All-Star honors in Indiana. Oladipo scoring in double-figures in each of his three seasons in Orlando and improved his field goal percentage each year.
5. Mike Miller, F (2000-03)
Selected: 5th overall in 2000 (Florida)
Orlando Stats: 14.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists
The 2000-01 NBA Rookie of the Year, Mike Miller played second fiddle to Tracy McGrady for the duration of his Orlando stint, but was a reliable 3-point shooter and a capable scorer on select nights. Perhaps Miller’s best performance came with McGrady sidelined in November 2002 as he scored 31 points and grabbed 19 points while hitting the game-winning shot in a 77-75 win over the Miami Heat.
4. Dennis Scott, F (1990-97)
Selected: 4th overall in 1990 (Georgia Tech)
Orlando Stats: 14.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 40% 3-pointers
A 6-foot-8 forward with a knack for being able to stretch the floor, Dennis Scott would become one of the NBA’s best outside shooters. Scott averaged in double-figures scoring in each of his seven seasons with the Magic, including a career-high 19.9 points in his second season. During the 1995-96 season, Scott hit a then NBA-record 267 3-pointers. In a win over the Atlanta Hawks in April 1996, Scott hit a then record 11 triples.
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3. Nick Anderson, G (1989-99)
Selected: 11th overall in 1989 (Illinois)
Orlando Stats: 15.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals
The first-ever draft pick of the Orlando Magic, Nick Anderson was a big guard who could shoot or score over smaller defenders in the post. One of the longest tenured players in Magic history, Anderson was part of five playoff teams. Anderson’s career will unfortunately be marred by four straight free throw misses in Game 1 of the 1995 NBA Finals, but Anderson averaged in double-figures in each of his 10 seasons in Orlando. He holds franchise records for games played and made field goals.
2. Shaquille O’Neal, C (1992-96)
Selected: 1st overall in 1992 (LSU)
Orlando Stats: 27.2 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.8 blocks
A behemoth of a man, Shaquille O’Neal wasted little time becoming one of the most dominant centers in the NBA. After leading the NBA in field goal percentage in his second season in the league, O’Neal led the league in points per game in his third while leading Orlando to its first NBA Finals appearance. O’Neal narrowly missed capturing MVP honors that season, but made the All-Star Game in each of his four seasons with the Magic and was the 1992-93 NBA Rookie of the Year.
1. Dwight Howard, C (2004-12)
Selected: 1st overall in 2004 (High School)
Orlando Stats: 18.4 points, 13.0 rebounds, 2.2 blocks
Picking between Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal wasn’t easy, but the longest run of prosperity in team history came with Howard as the captain of the ship. Howard led the league in rebounds four times, blocks twice and field goal percentage once while making six All-Star appearances in eight years and three straight Defensive Player of the Year honors from the 2008-09 season until 2010-11.