|I have had enough of Dwight Howard|
Teams that win the lottery are not always lucky. It's not every year that sure-thing studs enter the draft. Sure, there are guys like Shaq, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, LeBron James, and Blake Griffin. On the other hand, there are guys like Michael Olowokandi, Joe Smith, Kwame Brown, Kenyon Martin, Andrew Bogut, and Andrea Bargiani.
Orlando trades Chris Webber's draft rights to Golden State for Penny Hardaway and three future first-round draft picks. While Hardaway ends up being a nice complimentary piece to Shaq for a few years, he becomes injury prone five years later. Orlando trades Hardaway in 1999, and he is never the same afterward. Meanwhile, Chris Webber ends up becoming one of the league's best power forwards, and helps the Sacramento Kings become an elite team in the NBA. More on this later.
More bad news
Michael Jordan returns to the NBA.
More bad news
Nick Anderson, a 70% career free throw shooter, misses four free-throw attempts late in game one against the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals. The game ends up going into overtime, the Rockets win, and sweep Magic to claim their second consecutive title.
More bad news
After Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls spank the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals, Shaquille O'Neal leaves Orlando to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.
After a few lottery seasons and first-round playoff exits, the Magic somehow end up with one of the few good picks in the awful 2000 NBA Draft by selecting the Florida Gator, Mike Miller. In the same summer, the Magic end up stealing superstar Grant Hill from Detroit in a sign-and-trade for Chucky Atkins and Ben Wallace (more on this later). The Magic also sign local hero, Tracy McGrady, who proved himself to be a solid scorer in Toronto. Boy, things sure are looking good in Orlando!
Just four games into the 2001 season, Grant Hill re-injures his ankle, and thus sidelined for the entire season. Womp womp.
In Hill's absence, Tracy McGrady erupts! He raises his scoring average from 15.4 PPG to 26.8 PPG, winning the NBA's Most Improved Player award. The Magic lose in the first round to the Millwaukee Bucks. But that doesn't matter, because once Grant Hill comes back, the Magic will be a force!
Just 14 games into the 2002 season, Grant Hill re-injures his ankle, and thus sidelined for the entire season. The Magic lose in the first round of the playoffs to the Charlotte Hornets. Meanwhile, Shaq and the Lakers wind up winning their third consecutive championship. Also worth mentioning is that the Lakers play one of the most memorable Conference Championships of all time against - Get this- Chris Webber and the Sacramento Kings! For those keeping score at home, Magic fans went from potentially enjoying a Shaq-Webber duo to watching Shaq and Webber play each other in the Western Conference Finals eight years later.
|While the Magic were struggling to make the playoffs, Shaq and Chris Webber were contending for titles|
|Until 2007, Ben Wallace played more playoff games in Detroit than all of Grant Hill's Magic games combined|
|Vince Carter still sucks|
By the way, with the way Miami has played and the way Derrick Rose has been injured all season, the East is looking more wide open than most expected.
This is why Dwight Howard is not a superstar. This is why Dwight Howard will never be the leader of a championship team. Real superstars are players that rise above drama, leave everything on the floor every game, and try their hardest to win. Jordan. Duncan. Kobe Bryant. Dwyane Wade. Shaq. Pierce. Dirk. Garnett. Even ringless players like Nash, Iverson, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, and Derrick Rose would never pull chicken shit like this. Not even LeBron would pull chicken shit like this. Dwight Howard's refusal to play for SVG in the playoffs does nothing more than show how much of a loser Dwight Howard really is.
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