• Khaleel

Orlando Magic Mount Rushmore

OTG Basketball presents NBA Mount Rushmore, where we look at who belongs on the Mount Rushmore of each team in the league. Up next, is the Orlando Magic.

Dwight Howard, C

The first face of Orlando Magic Mount Rushmore should be Dwight Howard. It’s sad that “Superman” needs to be defended these days due to how he left Orlando and how his career has gone since but there’s no doubt in my mind he deserves this spot. He was an elite center and carried Orlando to the NBA Finals despite not having another All-NBA player in the lineup with him.

While on the Magic, Howard was steady and durable, named an All-Star in six consecutive seasons, and led the league in rebounding four times and blocks twice. He was also named Defensive Player of the Year three seasons in a row while in Orlando. Dwight is the all-time franchise leader in (deep breath) minutes played, made free throws, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, total rebounds, blocks, points, defensive rating, win shares and value over replacement player.

Nick Anderson, G/F

Being the first draft pick in franchise history helps get a player remembered, especially one that started for over 560 games and was a solid contributor as he scored in double-figures in each of the ten seasons he played for the Magic. He was a great team player who sacrificed his stats for the success of the team and was a big reason why it was able to work with Penny and Shaq.

We will forget about those four free throws in Game One of the 1995 NBA Finals (sorry, Magic fans). He is the all-time franchise leader in games played, field goals made and steals. He’s also second in minutes played, threes made, points, defensive win shares and total win shares. Anderson is a lock for the second selection.

Shaquille O’Neal, C

Shaq was the franchise’s first star and got the league to pay attention and follow pro basketball in Orlando as with him, for the first time, the Magic were relevant. He won Rookie of the Year, was an All-Star starter in each of his first four seasons in the league, led the NBA in scoring once while finishing second in MVP voting. The Big Diesel helped the franchise make its first Finals appearance. If he hadn’t left for Hollywood, he would be so much higher on this list. Even so, he sits top-5 all-time in franchise history in blocks, field goals made, free throws made, rebounds, win shares and value over replacement player as well as sixth in points. With his face in stone on the Magic Mount Rushmore, would it be called the “Big Rushmore”?

Tracy McGrady, G

Choosing the last player’s face is tough as it could go a few different ways. I’m very torn and had it not been for Penny Hardaway’s injury-derailed probably Hall of Fame-bound career, he’d probably go here. However, I’m going to go with “T-Mac”. Individually, he was one of the most dominant players in team history. In all four seasons with the Magic, he was named an All-Star. Such a gifted offensive player, he went out and got buckets any time he wanted and was hard to stop. He was a back-to-back league scoring champ. McGrady is the franchise’s all-time leader in points per game, offensive box plus/minus and box plus/minus. He’s also second in free throws made, PER, offensive win share and value over replacement player and sits in the top-10 all-time in franchise history in multiple other categories.

Looking for space on the mountain:

Nikola Vucevic, C

He’s very close to making a closer than comfortable case for an appearance on Orlando Magic Mount Rushmore. Right now, he’s second in rebounds, third in field goals, points and defensive win shares and fourth in games, minutes, blocks and top-10 in assists, steals, offensive win shares, win shares, box plus minus and value over replacement player. “Vooch” has a real shot at finishing top-3 in multiple categories and even first in several. The man is etching his face in stone each passing game.