The Orlando Magic have begun their 35th season of NBA basketball. The team has had several eras throughout its history, but one emphasis has always remained.
Building through the draft has been a focal point for building competitive teams in Orlando.
This is typically the mold for most NBA franchises. Rebuild with a high draft selection who develops into an All-Star and then create a team around them.
The Magic have had 22 lottery appearances in their tenure, which is the fifth-most in the NBA. The team consistently builds through the draft, and even though it has not paid off in a Larry O’Brien trophy, Orlando has stayed relatively competitive since the team’s inception.
The draft has always proven to be a critical part of the Orlando Magic’s rebuilding plans. They have had some stellar rookies that have proven to be the bedrock for the franchise.
This list of the top 15 Magic rookies in history has a majority of players who were given a starting role in their first season with the team. That results in a lot of growing pains but is well worth the early struggles for long-term success.
Orlando has had the ability to give significant minutes to rookies when drafted. The organization does not have a reputation of spending significant amounts of capital on the free agent market, but would rather grow internally.
President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman has recently established a team comaraderie that immediately helps rookies feel welcome and can proudly call Orlando home.
This ideology is suited for one of the smaller market teams in the league. The franchise wants to build a culture and a family-oriented community where a star player would show loyalty to the team and build a legacy with the Magic.
As the Magic embark on another season — with another pair of Lottery picks on the roster fighting for their playing time — we are going to look back and celebrate the 15 best rookie seasons in Magic history.