This is a question Magic fans always seem like they need to be answering. Especially now that the Magic are at the bottom of the standings, there is wonder whether Rich DeVos will put what is necessary to get back to the top of the mountain and, eventually, win a championship.
The one thing no one can ever say about DeVos is that he is unwilling to spend money. The multi-billionaire Amway owner went all in on the Magic’s latest championship foray and went deep into the luxury tax. It had limited success as the team reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2010, but then floundered and buried itself with a bad trade in 2011.
Throughout Magic history, though, the team has been relatively relevant.
From the early acquisition of Shaquille O’Neal and the rise to the NBA Finals in 1995, to having Anfernee Hardaway and then Tracy McGrady on the roster to Dwight Howard soon after (and the 2009 Finals), this is a team that has always had star power and some sort of say in the Playoff race in the Eastern Conference. Really these past three years are the first time in team history it has considered a serious rebuild.
That kind of consistent competitiveness — not championship competitiveness mind you — has the Magic’s record hovering around .500 in the time Rich DeVos has owned the team.
This friendly chart from John Templon of Buzzfeed shows exactly how DeVos compares in win percentage compared to time of ownership:
From looking at this chart, it appears DeVos is just about average. His teams have hovered around .500 for most of his ownership tenure and he has owned the team for some time. Note how awful Donald Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers was and how quickly and successful Peter Holt has become with the Spurs.
This chart also might suggest what we already know about the Magic.
DeVos is committed to winning. He wants to field a winning team. But the organization has made missteps and shown a lack of patience to get to that point. For nearly a decade, the Magic were stuck in the middle — despite the brilliance of Tracy McGrady and the growth and development of Dwight Howard.
This rebuild project is truly unique in Magic history.
The answer to the question in my headline above is: Yes, Rich DeVos is a winning owner. That has been proven with the Magic’s general success.
The real question is whether he is a championship owner. In two championship windows, DeVos and the Magic staff have struggled to strike while the iron is hot and burst through for that first championship. There have been lots of crippling mistakes on the way some unpreventable like Grant Hill and some of their own doing like the Hedo Turkoglu-Marcin Gortat trade.
Only time will tell if this patient approach ends up panning out for the organization.
Know this, it is clear from history, this chart and whatever, DeVos wants to see the Magic win.