The Orlando Magic have had a long history of drafting vastly talented big men early in the 1st round of the Draft, but they haven’t been able to find success behind their centers despite their great upside.
Being the 6th overall pick in this year’s Draft, Mo Bamba has joined an elite list of big men drafted by the Orlando Magic, but the team would definitely hope he doesn’t follow the footsteps of the ones that walked the hardwood before him.
Bamba was the most sensational prospect during the past couple of weeks, wowing scouts with his record-setting 7-foot-10 wingspan, his improved ability to guard all the way to the perimeter, his strength and athleticism.
The young stud out of Texas will get the starting nod from day one and a frontcourt consisting of him, Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon will definitely dominate defensively from day one, although shooting and spacing may be a huge issue.
Still, the Orlando Magic looks pretty rough and won’t be competing for a Championship in at least 5 years, something that may frustrate young talents of the likes of Bamba, causing him to try and force his departure. Today, we’re going to let you know about the top 3 big men the Magic Drafted but wind up leaving.
1. Shaquille O’Neal
It didn’t take long for Shaquille O’Neal to outgrow the Orlando Magic, as the Big Diesel was just too much of a player for that mediocre team. Of course, the Hardaway-O’Neal combo would thrive and take them to the Finals, but they just lacked the kind of a true support cast to help the 1st overall pick of the 1992 Draft take a Championship home.
Howard would eventually leave the Magic as a free agent to join the Los Angeles Lakers, the team where he won 3 Championships and became a total legend. The Hall of Famer would also try his luck at Miami, winning another ring next to Wade, as well as Phoenix, Cleveland and Boston. He’ll go down as the most dominant center in the history of the game, but the Magic got literally nothing in return for him.
2. Chris Webber
The Orlando Magic drafted Chris Webber with the 1st overall pick of the 1993 NBA Draft, but then immediately traded him to the Golden State Warriors for Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway, a 1996 1st round pick (Todd Fuller), a 1998 1st round pick (Vince Carter) and a 2000 1st round pick (Mike Miller). None of those players would play for the Magic as Orlando would trade back those very same picks on another move the next campaign.
So, they never got to actually watch Chris Webber play next to Shaquille O’Neal, a duo that would completely dominate the glass in both ends of the hardwood, with Webber being an outstanding passer that could’ve got the best out of Shaq’s physical game. Besides Penny, they didn’t get anything out of C-Webb.
3. Dwight Howard
Being drafted 1st overall in 2004, Dwight Howard was supposed to be something like the second coming of Shaq, and even though he was never able to live up to such high expectations, there was a time when he became one of the most dominant rim protectors and rebounders in the world and was even able to lead the Magic to the Finals for the last time in franchise history.
After repeatedly trying to be traded to the Nets, Howard would finally be dealt away to the Los Angeles Lakers on a deal that got Orlando Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga, Mo Harkless, Arron Afflalo, Nikola Vucevic, Al Harrington and several Draft picks. There, DH12 would miserably fail to develop any kind of rapport with Kobe Bryant and would leave as a free agent following a playoff sweep. Ever since, his career took a major downfall.
So, if this trend continues, we can expect Mo Bamba to become a major beast, but that’s not good news for Orlando fans, as he’s just going to be headed out the door when the team constantly fails to make a splash in the playoffs.