The Orlando Magic picked Jonathan Isaac with the sixth pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The favorite to be the president of the Magic, Jeff Weltman, had said the team would select Isaac “without a doubt”. Isaac was the biggest of the Magic’s needs, and a perfect fit for the team. But it turns out the Magic got the worst possible pick in this draft.
The Orlando Magic have a history of drafting bad players. In fact, they have the second worst draft pick record in the NBA, and their history of drafting bad players has led to them having the second worst record in the league. However, it seems like they are trying to fix this problem, as they hired John Hammond as their new general manager, and he spent their 2014 first round draft pick on a guy who played one preseason game, but played that one preseason game at the guard position.
One of the biggest storylines of the NBA draft this year was the Orlando Magic’s decision to take a chance on an overseas player in the draft. The Magic took Serbian forward Mario Hezonja with their No. 5 pick, making him the Orlando’s highest draft pick since Dwight Howard was selected second overall in 2004.. Read more about nba draft lottery and let us know what you think.
There is one player in the history of the NBA draft who asks an existential question. Is it possible to make a choice if you’ve never played in the NBA? Orlando Magic fans will forever be reminded of the bizarre but true story of former draft pick Fran Vazquez.
The Magic picked Vazquez with the 11th goal of the season. chosen in the 2005 NBA Draft. It’s not that Orlando didn’t want to contract him, they tried several times. It’s just that Vasquez always had something to do at the time.
Vazquez retired after 19 seasons with five teams in Spain’s top national league, the ACB. He has also played 11 times in Europe’s premier club competition, the Euroleague. He was part of the FC Barcelona team that won the Euroleague in 2010 and was one of the three ACB champions. But the big man never made it to Orlando or the NBA.
Prior to the 2005 NBA Draft, there was no consensus on where Fran Vazquez would play. He was with the Toronto Raptors at No. 7 and moved to the Memphis Grizzlies at No. 19. He was not a gifted offensive player, but with his height of six feet and his stature, people thought Vasquez could be a defender.
In 57 ACB and Euroleague games during the 2004-05 season, Vazquez was averaging 1.3 blocked shots in 23.3 minutes per game, while scoring 10.3 points and grabbing 5.8 rebounds. His 63.4% shooting percentage is mainly due to the fact that he is never more than a yard from the rim.
In the 2005 Orlando Magic draft, the general manager position was shared by Otis Smith and Dave Twardzik. Twardzik studied Vazquez in Spain and defended his selection shortly after being drafted, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
I don’t think this is a mistake. When he arrives, he will play for us.
Dave Twardzik in 2005
The problem is that it never came. Why did Fran Vazquez avoid the NBA like it was a trip to the dentist?
Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade centre Vladimir Stimac (left) and Unicaja centre Fran Vazquez during their Euroleague Top 16 Group E match on 18. March 2016. | JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images
The 2005 NBA Draft was held at the Madison Square Garden Theater. For Fran Vazquez, it was a totally different environment. Vasquez grew up in a small town in the far northwest of Spain. Chantada is located more than 300 miles from the Spanish capital Madrid and more than 600 miles from Barcelona, on the east coast of Spain. There are not many people in Chantad and most of them are farmers.
According to former Orlando Sentinel writer George Diaz, this was a major factor in Vazquez’s decision to stay in Spain and avoid the Orlando Magic.
The best way I can explain it is that Fran Vasquez was a European farmer intimidated by America.
The Manhattan scene wasn’t just too hectic for Vazquez. According to his girlfriend, Ana Toral, it was overwhelming.
Manhattan came as a great shock. Everyone was running through the streets and we were watching with big eyes.
It also didn’t help that Vasquez’s agent had more to gain by keeping his client in Spain than by bringing him to the US.
Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol (16) tries to grab a rebound against Regal FC Barcelona’s Frans Vazquez (17) during NBA Europe Live at Palau Blaugrana on October 7, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. | David Ramos/Getty Images
Although Fran Vazquez has never played for the Orlando Magic or any other NBA team, he has played in an NBA preseason game.
The Lakers played preseason games in London and Barcelona in 2010. Playing for Barcelona, Vazquez scored 10 points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes, helping Barça knock off the two-time NBA champions 92-88. Juan Carlos Navarro, who played for Memphis in the 2007-08 season, led Barça with 26 points.
Kobe Bryant played just 25 minutes and was 2 for 15 with 15 points. Pau Gasol scored 25 points in 36 minutes and Lamar Odom played 41 minutes (in the preseason game) and had 12 points and 18 rebounds.
In addition to Navarro, Barcelona has another former NBA player, Terence Morris. Future (and current) NBA player Ricky Rubio was also part of the team.
Spanish coach Manolo Rubia has made it clear that the Orlando Magic have nothing to lose.
I recently asked the national team players how many tickets they needed for the [international] matches. Everyone said two, three, six, whatever: I’ll have to ask Ana. He can’t even decide how many tickets he needs for himself. Orlando has nothing to lose.
Instead, Fran Vazquez will remain an unknown to the Orlando Magic and their fans. This is not a failure, but rather a conundrum.
Statistics courtesy of Real GM.
COMPARED TO: Ranking of the three players pulled for Chris Paul in the 2005 NBA Draft
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