As has been well documented on this very site, my 32-year tenure as an Orlando Magic fan has been a winding road paved in torment and agony. When the Magic were swept in the 1995 NBA Finals? The Artist Formerly Known as My Father chased me around the house with a broom. When Tracy McGrady bragged about making it to the second round of the 2003 NBA Playoffs prior to actually getting there, I was front and center when the Pistons inevitably made him eat his words. And as the Magic have botched draft after draft after draft, I’ve spent countless nights crying myself to sleep imagining what could’ve been.
But alas, on Thursday night during the 2021 NBA Draft, as the clouds parted and the Lord’s favor rained down from the heavens, a miracle occurred: the Orlando Magic finally got it right.
With the fourth pick in the draft, the Toronto Raptors put jaws on the floor with their selection of Florida State’s Scottie Barnes. This, of course, meant potential superstar Jalen Suggs was ripe for the taking so my mighty mighty Orlando Magic did exactly that with the subsequent pick.
Thank you, Based God!
Since Dwight Howard’s departure in 2012, the Magic have lumbered through eight losing seasons (and counting) in nine years. (I know because I have the therapy sessions to prove it.) So with yet another rebuild on the horizon after gutting their roster at the trade deadline in February, it was imperative that the Magic not only capitalize off of being in the unique position of having two picks within the top eight of the 2021 NBA Draft, but that they finally—finally—land a star. And with their selection of Suggs, a gifted playmaker and “ferocious competitor” who draws from a nearly infinite well of intangibles, Orlando might’ve finally—finally—got it right.
“He is a special talent, special kid and we talk about those qualities he has [...] toughness, grit, defensive-minded, and just not afraid of the moment,” Jamahl Mosley, the Orlando Magic’s brand spanking new coach, said on Thursday. “And I think, with these young NBA players, you’re looking for them to have that.”
Yes, the Magic already have Cole Anthony, Markelle Fultz, R.J. Hampton, and whoever the hell else, but ask me if I give a shit considering they’re coming off of having the third-worst record in the league and not a single one of them has established themselves as the undisputed starter moving forward. When you finish 21-51, you take the best player available—especially when he has the potential to finally give this organization the superstar it’s been craving for too damn long.
“I know the expectations I set on myself and those are always the highest,” Suggs said of joining the Magic. “So going in there and achieving what I set out for myself, I know if I do that it’ll meet their standards as well. I’m super excited to be going to work with a great group of guards in Cole [Anthony] and R.J. [Hampton] and a great group of people. Just so excited. I can’t wait to get there with the group.”
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a hot date with about an hour’s worth of tears of joy.