NBA / Mar 15, 2010 / 4:15 pm

Defining Dwight Howard’s place in Orlando Magic history

Dwight Howard (photo. Mannion)

Dwight Howard isn’t as brand-new as you think. Though it doesn’t seem like that long ago since he took the stage on NBA Draft night ’04 with those braces shining on his teeth, and while his persona makes him seem younger than he is, Dwight is a veteran at 24 years old and now in his sixth pro season.

In other words, it’s not too early to discuss (or at least make realistic projections for) his place in history.

Over the weekend, Dwight became the second-leading career scorer in the Orlando Magic franchise, passing Tracy McGrady and now sitting at 8,309 points. Who holds the top spot? Not Shaq or Penny Hardaway, but Nick Anderson at 10,650 points. Howard has already obliterated the franchise rebounding record, is extending his already large lead in blocks, and even ranks fifth in steals. It’s safe to say Dwight will be considered the franchise’s most accomplished player of all-time when he’s done — probably even before he’s 28 — but has he already had a better career in Orlando than anyone else?

Orlando is a young franchise. This is only their 21st season of existence, so the list of good to great players to have come through is short. There’s Dwight, Shaq, Penny, T-Mac, Anderson, Scott Skiles, Rashard Lewis, Dennis Scott, Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu, Grant Hill (kinda) — any other big names have been short-term rentals, like Horace Grant, Vince Carter, Shawn Kemp and Steve Francis.

On top of the stats, Howard has earned an NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, four All-Star nods, three All-NBA and two All-Defensive selections, and two Top-10 MVP finishes. He led the League in rebounding twice and blocks once. Howard had made one NBA Finals appearance, losing in five to Kobe‘s Lakers.

Meanwhile, in his four-year run with the Magic, Shaq compiled four All-Star nods, a Rookie of the Year, three All-NBA spots, and four Top-10 MVP finishes, and led the League in scoring once. Shaq also made one Finals appearance, getting swept by Olajuwon‘s Rockets in his third year. Penny played six year in Orlando, headlined by four All-Star appearances, three All-NBA nods, two Top-10 MVP finishes, and that ’95 Finals run with Shaq. T-Mac also played four years in Orlando, with four All-Star nods, an NBA Most Improved Player award, four All-NBA picks, three Top-10 MVP finishes, and he led the League in scoring twice. And, well, you know about the playoffs.

Is Dwight Howard already the greatest Orlando Magic player of all-time?

More Orlando Magic stories:
Matt Barnes vs. Kobe Bryant
Top 15 NBA In-Game Dunkers
The NBA’s Top 10 Frontcourts

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  • shiptar

    he is already top 3, but as you say, the franchise is still young and doesn’t have many great players in their history.

  • PWEEZY

    if he doesn’t bolt out of the team YES he will be the best player to rep magixs

  • Roman

    Who cares if he’s the greatest Magic player ever. Great players are not defined by stats, but by rings. We shall see how he ends up.

  • control

    Too early. He’s going to be the best in Magic’s history, but that really isn’t saying that much.

    Who’s up next for this series? Kevin Durant’s place on the Thunders?

  • sh!tfaced

    LOL@control… How about the greatest players in Bobcats history?

  • ab_40

    1. Shaq
    2. T mac
    3. Dwight
    4. Lil Penny

    that’s it no others need to be mentioned.

    With the heat it’s Zo, Wade, Tim Hardaway, and shaq with an aterisk because withou him wade wouldn’t have been able to take that step to superstardom so fast and he wasnt’their best player but he was the reason they won the chip… be real

    Hornets it’s Zo, Johnson, Mugsey, BD, Jamal Mashburn and now chris paul and david west

  • TIP

    Raptors next…

    1. errr…
    2 …
    3. Bosh?

  • GimmeDemSocks

    clevelands greatest player: craig ehlo

  • butterybunnies

    As great as Dwight has been for the Magic both on and off the court, it is a bit premature to label him as the greatest Magic ever. The same wouldn’t be said if the team won a championship last year. In only his 6th season, Dwight is in a position to earn himself the title of the GOAT for the Magic, but not for another year or two, or until he wins them a championship. Although the same can be said for Lebron, the Cavs have had zero quality and charisma in the past, whereas Orlando introduced us to Shaq_Penny.

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    who cares if Dwight Howard is the best in franchise history? their team history sucks. it aint really saying too much about your franchise if a player in their 6th season is the best ever.

    what about Nick Andersons place in the team history?
    is he the biggest goat and letdown in Magic history?!!?

  • Pig

    No magic fan can complain..I mean you have had great players and you’ve been to finals twice..We,the nuggets fans, can complain
    I have a question that i like more..Who’s the greatest nugget?

  • butterybunnies

    The teams history doesn’t necessarily “suck”, there just ain’t much history. At least their not like the Bobcats, Clippers, Warriors, Wizards, etc…with Dwight at the helm, the Magic are here to raise hell.

  • johnsacrimoni

    Come on, you can’t put him above a young, lean Shaq with any argument but longetivity. Shaq was the beast that Dwight is still trying to become.

  • Ozymandias

    How so? Shaq was a somewhat better scorer, a somewhat weaker rebounder, and nowhere near Howard on defense. Even in his prime, Shaq was NEVER the beast that Dwight Howard already is. Five stupid points a game don’t make up for the massive defensive gap.

    And Shaq wasn’t the league’s best center during his time with the Magic either — that would be Hakeem. (Of course, Shaq later acquired that title, but not until he was on the Lakers.)

  • QQ

    Top 3.

    1. Shaq
    2. Penny (If this is purely by personal preference, I’ll put Penny in the number 1 spot NO DOUBT. But hey, Shaq’s the alpha dawg in the early 90’s Magic)
    3. Dwight
    4. T-Mac
    5. Nick Anderson