The Orlando Magic’s top picks outside the top five

6 of 6

1 – Nick Anderson

Taken 11th overall in 1989, Nick Anderson was the Magic’s very first draft pick.

A solid shooter out of Illinois, he was (along with Scott Skiles) one of the closest things Orlando had to a star player prior to the arrival of Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway. And he registered a solid rookie campaign, shooting 49 percent from the field while averaging 11.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

Those numbers leapt to a career-high 19.9 points per game in 1992, a feat he also repeated the following season. Anderson became the team’s number one scoring option and a dangerous 3-point threat.

Vital as he was to the cause as a shooter, he will however always be remembered for two key moments in the Magic’s run to the 1995 NBA Finals.

The first is as glorious as any we have seen during Orlando’s 27 year history, as Anderson stole the ball from Michael Jordan late in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals to secure a historic win for the Magic. While the second is as sickening as any the team has seen, as Anderson, a 70 percent free throw shooter at the time, missed four consecutive free throws in Game One of the NBA Finals against the Houston Rockets.

Of course, Orlando failed to recover from the latter and so in many respects did Anderson, whose confidence really suffered from the experience. Particularly at the line. In 1997 he shot just 40 percent from there.

Soldiering on in the absence of O’Neal, he was traded to the Sacramento Kings after the lockout-shortened 1999 season – Anderson’s 10th with the Magic – and retired two years later after a short spell with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Anderson would return to Orlando though, as a member of the team’s community relations department and as an analyst covering the Magic for FOX Sports Florida, roles he holds to this day.

Next: Five suitors for Jimmy Butler

He remains a Magic lifer, and his contribution to the club on and off the court undoubtedly makes him one of Orlando’s most important draft picks of all time.