Orlando Magic All-2000s Team
Starting Small Forward: Grant Hill
6 seasons, 200 games, 195 starts, 16.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 50.0% FG%
This was the most difficult decision on the list, but we cannot ignore the productivity Grant Hill had when he was on the court.
Hill was a five-time All-Star before coming to the Orlando Magic, and he had only played in the NBA for six seasons. He was supposed to bring Orlando back into championship contention with him and Tracy McGrady joining forces in Florida.
Unfortunately, as everyone knows, Hill simply could not stay on the floor. In his first four seasons in Orlando, he played a combined 47 games. By the time he returned to the court, McGrady was in Houston.
The poor timing of McGrady’s ascension and Hill’s injury issues are a frustrating coincidence in Magic history.
Hill was still voted an All-Star in his first season while only playing in four games. This also represents just how good Hill was when he was in Detroit.
After Hill sat out the entire 2004 season, he was back and ready to contribute to the team. In 2005, Jameer Nelson’s and Dwight Howard’s rookie seasons, Hill played really well.
He was able to play and start in 67 games, averaging 19.7 points per game while grabbing 4.7 rebounds per game. Hill was selected to his second All-Star game as a part of the Magic that season. But this time it was noteworthy for how well he played.
That season is the reason why he is the starting small forward on this list. He played 20 more games that year than he did in total the four years prior. He looked the part and the reason the Magic gave him a seven-year, $92.8 million deal.
He went on to play 86 more games for Orlando after his All-Star season in 2005, and was the starting shooting guard for the 2007 Magic that made the playoffs. This was his one playoff berth for the Magic, and he played respectfully.
Hill averaged 15.0 points per game with 5.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. But the inexperienced Orlando Magic were facing HIll’s old team, the Detroit Pistons and got swept in four games.
Hill had a roller coaster of a career for the Magic, but he showed true resilience and an enduring spirit. He went on to win the Joe Dumars Trophy for the NBA Sportsmanship Award winner during the 2007 season.
He paved the way for young players like Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard to take the reins of the franchise on their way to excellent careers for the Magic.
While some felt Hill should have returned to “pay back” the Magic for sitting out on that max contract, the reality was both he and the team wanted to move on and clear the way for the next era of Magic basketball.