Magic The Usenet draft does not have an official second round.   What we do is let the teams that do not have a first round pick have a say in the draft.  The eighth of the "second round' goes to the Orlando Magic (who traded their first round pick to Utah).  In the real draft, the Magic have the 38th pick. Their GM is  Uncle Vasya, who selects:

Michael Ruffin, PF, 6'8", Tulsa

Team Stats (from

Hardaway 50 50 38.9 .420 .286 .706 1.5 4.2 5.7 5.3 2.22 0.46 15.8
Anderson 47 39 33.6 .395 .347 .611 1.1 4.8 5.9 1.9 1.36 0.32 14.9
D. Armstrong 50 15 30.0 .441 .365 .904 1.1 2.5 3.6 6.7 2.16 0.08 13.8
Austin 49 49 25.7 .408 .286 .669 1.7 3.1 4.8 1.8 0.96 0.71 9.7
Grant 50 50 33.2 .434 .000 .671 2.3 4.7 7.0 1.8 0.92 1.20 8.9
Harpring 50 22 22.3 .463 .400 .713 1.8 2.5 4.3 0.9 0.60 0.12 8.2
Outlaw 31 22 27.5 .545 .000 .432 1.7 3.6 5.4 1.8 1.29 1.39 6.5
Doleac 49 0 15.9 .468 -- .675 1.3 1.7 3.0 0.4 0.39 0.35 6.2
Strong 44 0 15.8 .422 .000 .717 1.5 2.2 3.7 0.4 0.34 0.16 5.1
D. Wilkins 27 2 9.3 .379 .263 .690 1.1 1.5 2.6 0.6 0.15 0.04 5.0
B.Armstrong 32 1 11.2 .455 .467 .857 0.1 1.2 1.2 1.9 0.38 0.00 3.3
Schayes 19 1 7.5 .379 -- .750 0.2 0.6 0.7 0.2 0.05 0.11 1.5
G. Wilkins 3 0 9.3 .000 -- 1.000 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.00 0.00 0.7
Simon 5 0 3.8 .200 .000 -- 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.0 0.20 0.00 0.4
Kerner 1 0 5.0 .000 -- -- 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.00 0.00 0.0
Team Totals .428 .330 .700 13.8 28.9 42.7 21.3 9.92 4.26 89.5
Opponents .443 .345 .707 11.9 28.5 40.4 20.8 9.36 4.78 86.9

Team Needs/History

During the 1998-99 season, the Magic did something they haven't done since their second season - they overachieved. Most preseason predictions had the Magic finishing near .500, fighting for one of the final playoff positions in the Eastern Conference. Instead they finished 33-17, tied for the best record in the East, despite shooting a team average 43%. Too bad they came back down to earth for the playoffs.

The pluses this season:

Chuck Daly convinced the Magic to play hard team defense, the team (until the playoffs) caught Darrell Armstrong fever, and they received substantial contributions from both of the team's rookies.

The minuses:

Scoring and ball handling are still BIG problems, both the center and power forward positions were unexpected weaknesses, and late season player discord cost the Magic several winnable games.

The details:

Penny Hardaway (free agent): Penny played in every game this season despite a late season severe wrist sprain and averaged a team-high 38.9 minutes per game, quieting concerns about his durability. Now if we could only get his scoring average back up to the high 20's. Part of the drop was physical/psychological - after suffering knee problems for two seasons, Penny either no longer has or is afraid to use the explosive jump that used to make him so dangerous. If he doesn't develop a consistent 18' jumper to compensate, defenders will continue to focus on taking away his post-up game, and the scoring will stay at its current level. In addition, Penny continues to allow quicker players to take him out of his game - both on offense, provoking far too many unnecessary turnovers, and on defense. He reacted to all the frustration by lashing out a his teammates, the fans, the media, and team management. That temper tantrum may have created an irreparable rift - the last player to provoke team-owner Dick DeVos into speaking to the media was Dennis Scott. Penny has opted out of his contract, and rumors about sign-and-trade possibilities are rife. New coach Doc Rivers seems to be trying to heal the breach, as are Hardaway's agents, who have a gag-order on Penny. It may work - but it may not. It's too close to call at this point.

Nick Anderson: Nick started the season strong, carrying the team offensively through January and February, and finished the same way, including a 40 point performance in the final game against New Jersey. He also was the team's leading scorer in the playoffs. All this has somehow convinced most fans and virtually all of the local media to overlook the midseason slump that left him with a season FG percentage of 39% and a scoring average of under fifteen points per game. Also seemingly forgotten is the fact that he was at least as much to blame for the team discord that erupted as was Hardaway. Hardaway's tantrum and refusal to play PG is fresh in our minds. But we can't afford to ignore Anderson9s tantrum and refusal to play SF. Clearly, despite the apparent success of Daly9s April 3 guard line-up, Orlando can no longer afford to assume Hardaway and Anderson will be able to coexist for an entire season. They both are most comfortable at SG, and both want 35 minutes per game at that position. At least one of them should be moved before training camp. If Hardaway demands to be traded, Anderson could be back. If not, or if not enough value is offered in return, a pre-draft trade of Anderson for a high draft pick is a distinct possibility - Vancouver and a few other lottery teams are being mentioned as potential partners.

Darrell Armstrong: D. Armstrong had his finest season, winning both the Most Improved and Sixth Man awards and registering statistical highs in virtually all categories. With Bo Outlaw (assuming he can be re-signed), Matt Harping, and (to a lesser extent) Mike Doleac, he gives the team a coaches-dream core. We only wish Penny Hardaway and Nick Anderson had the same attitude. Unfortunately, D. Armstrong loses effectiveness when he9s asked to play starter's minutes. He only has one speed, and hasn9t shown any signs of learning how to pace himself. In addition, turnovers continue to be a problem. He is a tremendous sixth man; we hope he can return to that role next season.

Ike Austin: The Magic hoped they were signing the Miami Heat version of Austin. What they got was an out-of-shape nice-guy. At least he wasn't locker room poison, so he's an improvement over Seikaly. If he dedicates himself in the gym this summer, and if Rivers can find away to wake up his mean streak, then Austin could be a real asset. If not, his contract only runs two more seasons.

Horace Grant: He's still the best team defender in Orlando and has turned into a locker room leader for the team, but there is no denying that he is beginning to feel the years. He suffered his first season averaging less than 10 points per game and shot a career low 43% (in part due to a injured pinky on his shooting hand). He reportedly is considering retiring at the end of the upcoming season, leaving one year before the expiration of his current contract, so we would not be surprised to see him moved as part of a rebuilding effort. The best position for Grant would be on a team like Portland, close to contending for a title but needing a little more veteran leadership and with a deep bench of 4/59s.

Matt Harpring: Harpring surprised a lot a people this season (but not those of us whose memories stretch back to his pre-foot-injury days at Georgia Tech). His hard-nosed, never back-down style earned him respect from players and even from the refs, and led to a spot on the first team All-Rookie squad. Most encouragingly, on this offense-starved team, he has a reliable jump-shot, shooting 46% (and 40% from three-point territory) for the season. He started 22 games this season, and, after a summer of hard work and a full training camp, we fully expect him to be the starting SF next season.

Bo Outlaw (free agent): Last year we wrote: "He loves defense, lives for floor burns, and thrives on rebounding. And he even proved he could provide some scoring when necessary. Win or lose, his intensity makes him a joy to watch." It's still true, and we hope we see him back in Orlando next season. We know the team wants him back, but we're not sure how the new CBA will affect what they can offer him vs. what he might get on from another team (he's coming off a two-year contract). The emergence of Matt Harpring should mean that Bo can return to his hound role, providing time off the bench at SF, PF and possibly even C.

Michael Doleac: Doleac was another pleasant draft surprise. He won't ever be a dominant center, but he's already a decent back-up and has the talent and the work ethic to become an adequate starter. He earned a spot on the second-team All Rookie squad. He's a player that thrives on coaching, so rookie-free-agent camp, summer league play, and a full training camp should help him immensely.

Derek Strong: We're not sure what went wrong with Strong this season, but we're afraid it might be that he felt slighted by the contract offer he ended up signing. He came into camp late, and out of shape, which certainly didn9t help. Neither did his early foot injury. Now that he's signed his new contract, we hope his old work habits return. However, he probably is being shopped.

Dominique Wilkins: The Magic waived D. Wilkins on June 14.

B. J. Armstrong (free agent): B.J. Armstrong may have a year or two left as an adequate back-up in the league. The Magic however have enough back-up PG talent without him. What they really need is a starting quality PG. We expect either Miles Simon or B.J. Armstrong to return next season, but not both.

Danny Schayes (free-agent): Each season we predict Schayes will retire, and each season he keeps returning. If nothing else, he is probably the best possible tutor for Doleac - having the same types of skills and the same game. So, this year we'll change, and predict another one year, league minimum contract.

Gerald Wilkins: We know the Magic feel honor bound to reward players who sacrifice for them. We just can9t see any way that G. Wilkins sacrificed as much as $7M over three years. The Magic waived Gerald on June 25.

Miles Simon (free agent): The Magic hope he can learn to play back-up PG. He definitely has the athleticism to succeed. If he works hard on his fundamentals during the rookie/free agent camp and plays in as many summer leagues as he can, it could happen. But, he's got to really put forth the effort, or he'll get left in the dust.

Jonathan Kerner (free agent): Kerner reportedly is a good practice horse, with a excellent practice habits. He earned his spot on the roster this season through hard work. We think we'll see him back next year in the same role.

Coaching/Front Office:

We like the selection of Doc Rivers as head coach. No one questions his work ethic, his knowledge of the game, or his ability to motivate players. The probable addition of Dave Wohl as top assistant, as well as the availability of Daly as a consultant, should mitigate his lack of actual coaching experience. John Gabriel deservedly got a few votes for Executive of the Year, based on Orlando's strong draft. The signing of Ike Austin was a reasonable gamble, especially given that he only got a three year contract. Re-signing Gerald Wilkins was probably Gabe's biggest mistake.


The Magic need help in three areas: a third scorer to go with Hardaway/Anderson and the developing Harpring, a starting PG to relieve DArmstrong, and youthful, aggressive help at either PF or C. There are a number of reports indicating that the Magic are trying to make a deal to acquire one of the top five draft picks this year to address PG. We think that they are will look to address the PF/C weakness through a trade involving Horace Grant.

Orlando Selects

Pick 37, Michael Ruffin, PF, Tulsa


The Magic finished 18th in the league in Defensive FG% and 21st in blocks. Michael is an excellent post defender with true PF size and strength (true 6-8, 248, 7-2 wingspan) who was second in the WAC in blocks this season. He also led the WAC (as well as the Desert Classic camp) in rebounding, ahead of more highly rated players such as Kenny Thomas and Shawn Marion. He attacks the boards aggressively on both ends, keeping the opposing big men off them, and he has done this against some quality competition this year.

His weakness is that his offensive game is limited to putbacks. This does not concern me that much, considering his other skills and physical tools. He can work on a 15 footer for the rest of his (what should be) long career in this league.

He is excellent insurance in case the Magic can't keep Bo. He will be able to play both centers and power forwards, and given his size and athleticism, he can develop into an very good NBA PF, one of the better rebounders in the league.

Others Considered

Rodney Buford:

Tough choice between him and Ruffin. Love his size and athleticism, as well as scoring ability. But it seems he has no NBA 3 pt. range, and more importantly he's not ready to defend on this level. Also, his NCAA performance was unimpressive: 30% fg, 2-12 on 3s.

Vonteego Cummings:

Is he 6-1? Is he 6-3? Is he a PG, SG, a combo? He's never had great A/TO numbers and he doesn't seem like an NBA 3 pt. shooter. His camp performance was mixed (Phoenix bad, Chicago good.) Good defender, but I think the Magic need more of a true playmaker, since they already have D. Armstrong.

Leon Smith:

Like his athleticism, shotblocking, rebounding, size. Very much doubt he's ready for the NBA life emotionally. Raw offensively, NBA is a big leap after dominating HS competition with physical tools.

Who the team will probably take

The Magic have so far brought in Rodney Buford (SG, Creighton), Louis Bullock (PG, Michigan), Vonteego Cummings (PG, Pittsburgh), Michael Ruffin (PF, Tulsa), J.R. Koch (F, Iowa), Lenny Brown (PG, Xavier) and John Celestand (G, Villanova) for workouts. There's a strong possibility that the 38th pick will be the best player available from this group. The team has been pretty tight-lipped about their reaction to these players. Buford and Ruffin may be gone by the time the Magic pick, so someone like Bullock or Cummings is a possibility.

In the unlikely event that the team manages to trade for a lottery pick, they will take the best PG available.

Other Moves The Team Should Make

Obviously, whether any kind of trade happens depends on what kind of value the Magic can get in return for their stars. They need to resolve the Hardaway/Anderson situation and get something for Horace while they can. I think they should not be too shy about parting with their future draft picks if this insures the arrival of a star player like Tom Gugliotta or a young scoring/playmaking talent like Steve Francis or Baron Davis. If either Hardaway or Anderson is traded for a PG, the Magic should look into acquring a veteran swing-type player cheaply, since the Wilkins brothers have been waived.

[Prepared by Tom McGuigan ( and Uncle Vasya (]

Craig Simpson - Usenet Draft Commissioner

Visit My Home Page