On Monday 1/18, the Orlando Magic (6-7) take on the New York Knicks (6-8). In 116 all-time regular season games, the Knicks are 56-60 against the Magic.
Here are 5 connections between the two teams (based on active rosters).
Payton signed with the Knicks in 2019 and started 36 games at point guard. So far, he has started all 13 for the Knicks in 2020-21.
Before NY, Payton was drafted by the Magic 10th overall in the 2014 Draft.
Ironically, Payton was actually drafted by the 76ers, who previously acquired a 2014 first round pick for current Knick Nerlens Noel. Philly than flipped this pick to the Magic, for Dario Saric, who was drafted 12th overall.
More irony – that 12th pick, was acquired by the Magic as part of a 4-team blockbuster trade in August 2012. The crux of that deal – Dwight Howard from Magic to Lakers, Andrew Bynum from LA to 76ers, Nikola Vucevic to Magic and Andre Iguodala to Nuggets.
I haven’t gotten to the irony part yet. The 2014 #12 pick was acquired by the Magic from the Nuggets. This pick originated with the Knicks, who traded this and a 2016 first (Jamal Murray) to the Nuggets in 2011 as part of the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster deal.
In 3+ seasons with the Magic, Payton started 234/281 games, played 29.5 minutes per game, scored 11.1 ppg, while shooting 45% from the floor and 30% from three and also averaged 6.4 assists per game.
Magic drafted the Anthony 15th overall out of UNC in the 2020 Draft. Anthony has been elevated to starting PG for the Magic, since Markelle Fultz suffered a season-ending injury.
Anthony wears jersey #50, just like his dad, Greg Anthony who was drafted 12th overall by the Knicks in the 1991 Draft.
Greg Anthony played his first four seasons with the Knicks (1991-1995) and was a part of the NBA Finals run in 1994.
Tom Thibodeau and Steve Clifford
Speaking of NBA Finals runs…
Remember the last time the Knicks were good? Yeah, 2013 was a fun season but I mean consistently relevant and awesome. That would be the 90s and early 2000s.
Knicks also went to the Finals in 1999, with head coach Jeff Van Gundy. Van Gundy had two notable assistants during his run in NY.
Current Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, worked as a Knicks assistant from 1996-2004, overlapping with current Magic head coach Steve Clifford, who was part of the organization from 2000-2003 (specifically, an assistant coach from 2001-2003).
Jared Harper and Chuma Okeke
The 2018-19 Auburn Tigers made a magic run in the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the school’s first ever Final Four, before losing to eventual champions Virginia.
Two of that team’s leading scorers were Jared Harper (15.3 ppg, 5.8 apg) and Chuma Okeke (12.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg).
Harper has played only 5 minutes for the Knicks this season, and was signed as a developmental player with G-League in mind.
Okeke was the Magic’s first round pick in 2019 (#16) but missed the entire season due to a pre-existing injury. He has played sparingly in just 5 games this season.
Bonus connection – Gary Clark
Okay, this one is a major stretch, but given my background as a Cincinnati alum, I am taking the leap…
During the off-season, the Knicks acquired Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman from the Wolves. Both men have since been waived by the team.
Evans is notable because he was a first round pick by the Warriors in 2018, who the Knicks play later this week. Evans and Magic forward Gary Clark were teammates at University of Cincinnati from 2014-2018 and in 2018, helped lead the Bearcats to an outright regular season conference championship and tournament championship as Cincinnati was a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.