Into the Orlando Magic-verse: Top 5 What-If’s in Orlando Magic History

The Orlando Magic have been to the NBA Finals twice in their franchise history and have made plenty of playoff memories and heartaches along the way. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic have been to the NBA Finals twice in their franchise history and have made plenty of playoff memories and heartaches along the way. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, Jonathon Simmons, Orlando Magic
Dwyane Wade established himself as the Miami Heat’s greatest player and a thorn in the Orlando Magic’s side. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Top 5 what-if’s in Orlando Magic history

What If the Heat didn’t draft on Dwayne Wade?

What happened?

The 2003 NBA Draft is considered by many one of the deepest and most star-studded collections of prospects the NBA has ever seen. One of those stars was future three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade.

Despite eventually becoming a Top-five pick, Wade thought the Chicago Bulls at No. 7 or the Orlando Magic at No. 15 would ultimately be his new home.

In fact, Dwyane Wade recently revealed that his fellow Marquette alum, Magic head coach Doc Rivers, hinted he wanted to trade up to five to pick him.

But that did not happen. The Magic would take Louisville’s Reece Gaines at No. 15 because it turned out the Heat valued Wade the same as the Magic did. Miami selected Wade with the fifth overall pick and set in motion one of the greatest careers of any shooting guard in NBA history.

What could have gone differently?

What if someone else available had caught the attention of the Miami Heat? Allowing the Orlando Magic to wait/trade up and land a player that could have been the franchise’s best?

Assuming he would have had a similar career to the one he had in Miami, Magic Dwyane Wade would have rewritten the entire early 2000s-2010s era of the franchise.

For starters – he and Tracy McGrady would have been on the same team for at least one year, which could have led to McGrady staying in Orlando rather than moving to Houston.

Additionally, it feels unlikely the Magic would have won the lottery the following year if they had Dwyane Wade, so Dwight Howard (arguably the franchise’s best player) probably never wears a Magic jersey in this timeline.

Even if it meant never getting Howard, most Magic fans would probably prefer a timeline where Wade was the franchise’s go-to guy and perennial representative for All-Star Weekend. Especially if it meant the possibility of the Magic becoming the benefactor of what would become one of the scariest lineups ever assembled.

Many forget that while Pat Riley is the Godfather and forever making next-level roster moves, Dwyane Wade was truly the architect of the Heat’s Big 3 as he was the one who convinced LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join him on South Beach.

Could drafting Wade have led to a scenario of the “Heatles” storyline taking place at Disney World? It is fun to imagine.

Final prediction

Dwyane Wade embraced Miami as his home immediately and spent almost the entirety of his career there. He is that organization’s most important player and possibly a top-three NBA shooting guard of all time.

If he landed in Orlando, Wade’s Magic legacy would have been much the same.

Even if it was in little old Orlando, Wade’s impact on the league and game of basketball was going to be undeniable. He was a winner in every sense of the word and even in down years consistently led his teams to the playoffs.

When he started to age and lose a step, he was never afraid to embrace the help of other stars. Proving that winning was always his number one focus and ego would never be.

Wade would have been only the third player in the organization’s history to average more than 20 points per game and more than likely would have brought other stars to Orlando to join him in pursuit of winning the Magic championships.

He almost certainly would have accomplished the goal of bringing the Larry O’Brien Trophy to Central Florida for the first time and gone down as unquestionably the greatest player in Magic History. Oh, what could have been if Pat Riley was not Pat Riley.