Orlando Magic All-2000s Team
3 seasons, 12.6 PPG, 177 starts, 5.5 APG, 1.76 SPG
The definition of the Heart and Hustle era, Darrell Armstrong signed with the Orlando Magic in 1995 at 26 years old after playing three seasons overseas.
Most of his career in Orlando happened before the 2000s, but he still played three full seasons for the Magic from 2000-03. He also stayed relatively healthy during those seasons, only missing five games from the age of 32 to 34 years old.
His longevity during this era is noteworthy based on the way he played. Diving after loose balls, playing active defense and driving through traffic takes a toll on your body. Armstrong did so willingly. That is what defined him as a player.
During the 2001 season, Armstrong averaged 15.9 points per game and was the second in minutes per game and first in assists, averaging 7.0 per contest.
Armstrong played in 15 playoff games during the 2000s and averaged 12.7 points per game. The first two playoff series he averaged more than 40 minutes per game. You could argue the Magic’s decision to let Armstrong walk in free agency after the 2003 Playoff loss tore the Magic’s heart out and led to the team’s bottoming out the following year.
Armstrong always put his team first and will go down as one of the hardest workers the Magic have had both on and off the court.
3 seasons, 194 games, 154 starts, 14.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, 38% 3FG%
Mike Miller, the 5th overall selection in the 2000 Draft, had an excellent start to his career in Orlando. The Magic started him in 62 games, but he played in all 82 that season. He averaged 11.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while shooting 40.7 percent from three per contest to win the Rookie of the Year.
He started in the playoffs that season, averaging 12.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in the series sweep. The team was excited for the development of their new young star.
The following season, he improved his play, and averaged 15.2 points per game. Grant Hill only played in 14 games that season, so Mike Miller embraced the secondary scoring role behind Tracy McGrady.
The Magic made the postseason again that year. But unfortunately for Miller, he struggled. Veterans Stacey Augmon and Jamal Mashburn limited Mike Miller to 4.8 points per game while shooting 33.3% from the field and 12.5% from three.
In Miller’s final season in Orlando, he averaged 16.4 points and 5.8 rebounds, which were both career highs. He started in 39 games before the Magic ultimately decided to trade him to the Memphis Grizzlies.
He had an illustrious career as an NBA journeyman and played 14 more seasons after leaving Orlando. But he was still an oversized shooter for the Magic who proved he could contribute at such a young age.
2 seasons, 98 games, 35 starts, 12.0 PPG, 6.9 RPG
The Orlando Magic acquired Drew Gooden was acquired at the trade deadline in 2003 during his rookie season (in the Mike Miller trade). He finished the season playing in 19 games, starting in 18 and averaging 13.6 points per game. Drew Gooden was a former fourth overall pick who seemed to be a solid pairing with Tracy McGrady.
During the playoffs that year, Gooden started in all seven games against the Detroit PIstons and averaged 14.0 points and 12.7 rebounds. A true double-double machine, Gooden was active on the offensive glass, grabbing four per game that series.
He went on to play 79 games the following season, averaging 11.6 points and 6.5 rebounds. But he primarily came off the bench as Juwan Howard was the starting power forward and the two big men proved to be a bad match in that disaster of a season.
Gooden only played two seasons but proved to be a capable scoring big that could be used in pick-and-roll situations next to McGrady.