5 ways the Orlando Magic have changed the NBA
The Lottery Odds
The NBA has been battling the scourge of tanking for almost its entire history.
They tried to push the last-place teams into a coin flip for the top pick to combat it. Then they created the Lottery system. And thing shave gotten seeming more and more complex as the years have gone on.
A lot of teams probably have the Magic to blame for a lot of different things with the Lottery and the Lottery process.
It was not just that they won the Lottery that changed the franchise and netted them Shaquille O’Neal, it was the luck they got after in winning a second number one pick with virtually zero percent odds to win it.
A number one pick is a franchise-changing moment (one the Magic have gotten now four times with the first three leading the team to the NBA Finals and the fourth preparing for his second season in the league).
One player can truly change the balance of power in the league and the prospects of a team. That is the struggle of a game where there are only five players on the court. One player does indeed make a big difference.
But the Magic somehow going from missing the playoffs on the fourth tiebreaker after O’Neal’s rookie year with one ping pong ball in the hopper and winning a second straight NBA Draft Lottery made the NBA rethink everything.
Sure, the Magic traded Chris Webber for three first-round picks including Anfernee Hardaway. But the league was appropriately upset that the Magic got this stroke of luck despite the remotest of possibilities.
This stroke of luck set up the Magic’s trip to the Finals in 1995 and the first era of successful Magic basketball.
But the league did not take kindly to it. They adjusted the Lottery system to the current 1-14 number draw system they use now. That was done to make it harder for a team like the Magic to win the NBA Draft Lottery again.
They have further adjusted the odds to make it harder for the teams at the bottom to win the Lottery because of the prevalence of tanking. But the biggest change to the NBA Draft Lottery came because of the Magic’s good luck. And they rode that nearly to a title.