OTG's All-Decade Team: Orlando Magic Edition
With the past decade coming to a close, what better way to ring in the new decade by reflecting on the past. Off The Glass is taking a look at each NBA team and selecting their All-Decade squad, which is defined by one guard, one forward, one center, a role player (someone not selected as an All-Star, or to an All-NBA team), and one wildcard.
Today we are highlighting the Orlando Magic.
Guard: Victor Oladipo. Players like Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo received serious consideration, but Oladipo resurrected basketball in Orlando amidst a drought that had resulted from Dwight Howard’s departure. The Indiana product only spent three seasons with the Magic, but averaged double-digit scoring averages from the jump and made Orlando basketball fun to watch.
Forward: Aaron Gordon. The Magic selected Gordon with the fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft with the vision of him becoming one of the organization’s centerpieces moving forward. It took some time, but Gordon started finding his way in the 2016-17 season, seemingly getting better with each passing year. From a historical showing in dunk contests to tenacious play on both ends of the court, he gets the nod for the forward selection.
Center: Nikola Vucevic. The Switzerland native joined the Magic in the 2012-13 season and has been in Orlando ever since. Vucevic has averaged a double-double in points and rebounds in six of his eight seasons with the Magic. There haven’t been too many positives coming out of this decade, but the USC product has been consistently solid every season, making his first All-Star appearance last year.
Role Player: Evan Fournier. This may seem as a headscratcher to some, but the Frenchman has been solid, averaging double-digits in scoring in each of his six seasons with the team. Known for his perimeter shooting, Fournier lowest three-point shooting percentage came in 2018-19 when he shot 34% from behind-the-arc. He’s never been viewed as a franchise centerpiece, but his consistent play has been a luxury for Orlando since 2014.
Wildcard: Oladipo-Ibaka. Oh, how the Magic front office messed up this one. On June 23, 2016, Orlando traded Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, and Ersan Ilyasova to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Serge Ibaka. Not only did Oladipo turn out to be a star in an eventual trade to the Indiana Pacers, but Sabonis has turned into one of the game’s top young big men. Ibaka spent one mere season in central Florida before heading to Toronto. Needless to say in hindsight, the trade was an epic failure.
Team High: 2010-11 season. Despite losing in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Magic finished the year with a 52-30 record, going into the postseason as the fourth seed. Howard finished second for the MVP, averaging 22.9 PPG, 14.1 RPG, and 2.4 BPG. Basketball in Orlando was exciting, with a young MVP getting into his prime.
Team Low: 2012-13 season. The worst year in the decade, the Magic finished with a 20-62 record, solidifying the team as one of the league’s worst. The effects of Howard’s departure were being felt to a maximum. To make matters worse, Orlando didn’t have a star-caliber player on the roster, beginning a period of rough seasons.
Upcoming Decade Prediction: The Magic snapped a six-year playoff drought last year, losing to the eventual-NBA champion Toronto Raptors. I would expect the organization to remain competitive; Orlando won’t have a repeat of the past decade, but they are a couple of pieces away from being serious contenders. The Magic will make the playoffs four times before 2030.