Top 15 Orlando Magic Rookies
10. Courtney Lee
8.4 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1.2 APG, 77 games, 42 starts, 25.2 MPG, 40.4% 3FG%
Courtney Lee is another Orlando Magic rookie who only played his initial season with the team. But his impact in that one season was crucial as the starter for the Magic’s 2009 Finals team.
The Magic drafted Lee as a 23-year-old rookie out of Western Kentucky, knowing he could contribute immediately with his collegiate experience and pedigree. He was a three-time first-team All-Sun Belt selection during his four years in college and was also named Sun Belt Player of the Year his senior year.
He had played almost 4,000 total minutes in college, so then-general manager Otis Smith believed he could provide much-needed depth at the guard position.
Orlando was a championship contender during Lee’s tenure and he fit in perfectly with what coach Stan Van Gundy required out of his wing players.
He was able to shoot the basketball at an elite level for a rookie and defend the perimeter well enough to stay on the floor as he averaged 1.0 steal per game. Once Stan Van Gundy realized that Mickael Pietrus was much more valuable as a sixth man off the bench, Lee was named the full-time starter.
Courtney Lee was second on the team in three-point percentage during the regular season only behind All-Star selection Jameer Nelson.
Lee was selected at this position not only for his regular season success, but his contributions in the playoffs. He started 16 of the 21 games he played, and played through a fractured sinus that occurred in the first round.
In the Eastern Conference Finals against Cleveland, Lee finished with a plus/minus of +15 and shot 57 percent from the floor while defending Mo Williams and Delonte West to secure a trip to the NBA Finals.
Lee did not succumb to the pressure of starting for a championship-caliber team but excelled in his role and was trusted with important defensive matchups throughout the postseason. As the 22nd selection in the draft, his presence was much needed throughout the 2009 season.
9. Nick Anderson
11.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.5 APG, 81 games, 9 starts, 22 MPG
As the first draft pick in Orlando Magic history, Nick Anderson was given a difficult task as a rookie. The roster was relatively young and no one on the team had played together.
Anderson was the sixth man for most of the season as he only started nine times his rookie year, but he contributed at a high level.
He was fairly polished as a rookie as he had a fluid jump shot and was comfortable driving and finishing with either hand. Anderson attacked closeouts well and was confident handling the basketball in fast breaks.
Anderson joined the NBA when a three-point jump shot was not essential at the guard position, as he only shot 0.2 threes per game. He mostly scored on pull-up jump shots and finishes around the rim.
Anderson was fifth on the team in scoring his first year, and had the second-highest field goal percentage on the team. He was a smart player from the first time he put on a Magic jersey and rarely seemed out of control.
He was a well-rounded player. He could score, pass, rebound and defend. There wasnot one part of his game that stood out over the rest. Just a reliable wing who Magic fans could see was going to be a big part of the team’s future.
The Magic only won 18 games that season, but Orlando finished 12th in attendance that year in the NBA. The city was willing to witness the growing pains of a new franchise, and Nick Anderson was a staple in building the Magic organization.