Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway is a gifted guard whose shooting, passing and athletic abilities earned him a spot on the All-NBA First Team and who helped the Magic reach the NBA Finals in 1995, only his second season in the league. The 6-7 Hardaway combines height, ball handling and an accurate outside stroke into an exciting all-around game, although his scoring tailed off in his final two seasons with Orlando and he was traded to Phoenix prior to the 1999-2000 season. A native of Memphis, Tennessee Hardaway always seemed destined for round ball success. He was Parade magazine’s National High School Player of the Year in 1990, when as a prep senior he averaged 36.
6 points, 10. 1 rebounds, 6. 2 assists, 3. 3 steals, and 2. 8 blocks. He chose to attend nearby Memphis State (now the University of Memphis) but had to sit out 1990-91 in order to become academically eligible.
Hardaway, who achieved a 3. 4 cumulative grade point average in college, ripped up the Great Midwestern Conference for two seasons. As a junior in 1992-93 he averaged 22. 8 points, 8. 5 rebounds, and 6. 4 assists; shot.
477 from the field; recorded 2 triple-doubles; and set a school single-season record for points with 729. He was named conference Player of the Year, a First-Team All-American, and a finalist for the Naismith and Wooden Awards. The Orlando Magic, who had secured Shaquille O’Neal with the No. 1 pick in the 1992 NBA Draft, won the NBA Draft Lottery again in 1993. The team took Michigan’s Chris Webber with the No. 1 pick and immediately traded him to the Golden State Warriors for Hardaway and three first-round draft picks.
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The Warriors had chosen Hardaway with the third overall pick in the same draft. (Shawn Bradley went to the Philadelphia 76 ers at No. 2. ) In an effort to ease Hardaway’s adjustment to playing point guard in the NBA, Magic Coach Brian Hill started him at off guard for the first half of his rookie season.
Hill eventually moved Hardaway to the point, and the 21-year-old rookie finished with averages of 16. 0 points, 5. 4 rebounds and 6. 6 assists per game. He made the NBA All-Rookie First Team and finished six votes behind Webber for the Rookie of the Year Award. In only his second year in the league Hardaway emerged as a top NBA guard.
He averaged 20. 9 points and 7. 2 assists, started in the 1995 NBA All-Star Game, and helped the Magic to the best record (57-25) in the Eastern Conference. Orlando romped all the way to the NBA Finals before being swept by the Houston Rockets in four games. Proving his worth as a prime-time player, Hardaway averaged 25. 5 points and 8.
0 assists in the series against the Rockets. Following the 1994-95 season, Hardaway was named to the 1996 Dream Team, which competed in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Hardaway had another banner season in 1995-96, averaging a career-high 21. 7 pp and a team-best 7. 1 a pg. He also stepped up his game a notch during the first six weeks of the season, when O’Neal was sidelined by a broken thumb.
Following the departure of O’Neal as a veteran free agent in the summer of 1996, Hardaway stepped in as Orlando’s scoring leader at 20. 5 pp in 1996-97, despite missing 23 games because of a knee injury. After the Magic fell behind Miami 2-0 in their First Round playoff series, Hardaway erupted for 42, 41 and 33 points as Orlando stretched the series to the five-game limit before bowing. He missed all but 19 games of the 1997-98 season due to torn cartilage in his left knee and averaged 16.
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4 pp, then started all 50 games in 1998-99 and led the Magic in scoring at 15. 8 pp, the lowest mark of his career. He exercised an option to become a free agent following the season and agreed to a sign-and-trade deal in which he re-signed with the Magic and was traded to the Phoenix Suns on August 5, 1999 for Danny Manning, Pat Garrity and a pair of future No. 1 draft picks. 1999-2000 Logged a triple-double, tallying 20 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a 107-98 loss to Houston on 4/18 Posted 25 points and 12 rebounds in a 102-97 win over Sacramento on 4/9 Tallied 33 points (11-14 FG) in a 90-82 win over Golden State on 3/26 Notched 25 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists in a 109-101 loss at the L. A.
Lakers on 3/24 Scored 28 points (10-10 FT) in a 99-96 loss to Utah on 3/10 Posted 24 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds in a 108-101 win at Houston on 3/7 Tied his season-high of 28 points in a 100-92 win over Miami on 3/6 Registered a season-high 28 points in a 103-102 loss in Toronto on 2/27 Netted 21 points in his return to Orlando on 1/31 Totaled 24 points (10-15 FG) in a 100-79 loss in Charlotte on 1/29 Scored 27 points in a 93-87 win in Philadelphia on 1/26 Activated from the injured list on 1/22, after missing 21 games with plantar in his right foot Notched 21 points and 9 rebounds in a 105-95 loss in Houston on 12/4 Tallied 21 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists in a 128-122 double OT win over Houston on 12/1 Posted a team-high 25 points (10-16 FG), 5 assists and 4 steals in a 104-89 victory in New Jersey on 11/10 Made his Suns debut, scoring 18 points and dishing 3 assists in an 84-80 victory over Philadelphia on 11/41998-1999 Led the Magic in scoring (15. 8 pp) and steals (2. 22 s pg, 6 th in the NBA) and ranked 2 nd on the team in assists (5. 3 a pg) Led the Magic in assists in 22 games, in scoring in 18 games and in rebounds in 12 games, and logged 8 double-doubles Scored 19 of his game-high 27 points in the 4 th quarter, adding 6 rebounds and 5 assists, in an 88-81 win over the Detroit Pistons on 4/18 Registered a game-high 25 points (3-6 3 FG), 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals against the Indiana Pacers on 4/14 Posted team-highs of 30 points (12-21 FG), 10 rebounds and 8 assists, and added 3 steals, in an 81-72 win over the New York Knicks on 4/6 Totaled game-highs of 30 points (3-6 3 FG) and 5 steals, adding 3 assists and 3 rebounds, in a 90-77 win over the Detroit Pistons on 4/3 Recorded 22 points (9-14 FG, 4-4 FT), a game-high 13 assists and 5 rebounds against the L.
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A. Lakers on 3/21 Registered team-highs of 19 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists in a 70-67 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on 3/1 Scored the first 6 points in overtime, posting a game-high 23 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals, in a 105-103 overtime victory over the Indiana Pacers on 2/26 Totaled a game-high 28 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists in a 107-90 victory over the Boston Celtics on 2/81997-1998 Placed on the injured list on 3/12 to continue rehabilitation of his left leg and calf and is sidelined indefinitely Recorded 6 points and 3 assists in the 1998 NBA All-Star Game in New York Totaled 11 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds in his first game back from injury, a 95-88 victory over the Houston Rockets on 1/29 On the injured list from 12/8 to 1/29, missing 26 games, after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on 12/10 to repair a cartilage tear in his left knee Registered 22 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals in a 101-97 victory over the Vancouver Grizzlies on 12/3 Posted a team-high 29 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals in an 89-88 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on 12/2 Totaled a game-high 32 points, hitting 6-of-9 three-pointers, and 5 rebounds in a 107-96 win over the Boston Celtics on 11/2 Recorded a game-high 31 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists against the Atlanta Hawks on 10/311996-1997 Expected to emerge as one of the league’s top scorers following the departure via free agency of Shaquille O’Neal, Hardaway missed 23 games during the first half of the season because of a knee injury and did not quite live up to those projections. Nonetheless, he led the Magic with 20. 5 points, 5.
6 assists and 1. 58 steals per game and also contributed 4. 5 rebounds per game. He was named to the All-NBA Third Team. Hardaway played and started in 59 games, scoring in double figures in 56 of them and getting 20+ points 33 times and 30+ points six times, including a season-high 35 points in a 112-107 overtime loss at Atlanta on March 17. He handed out a season-high 13 assists in a 105-69 romp at Toronto on April 10.
The Magic’s go-to player, he connected on clutch free throws or baskets in the final 90 seconds of eight games to secure Orlando victories. Voted to the starting team for the All-Star Game, Hardaway scored 19 points, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out three assists in 24 minutes for the East in its 132-120 victory. After Miami grabbed a 2-0 lead over Orlando in their First Round playoff series, the Magic went to a three-guard alignment and told Hardaway to focus on scoring. He responded with 42 points in Game 3 and 41 in Game 4 as the injury-riddled Magic improbably tied the series. Hardaway scored 33 points in Game 5 but it was not enough as Miami prevailed.
... a game and it tests the ... consistently. The NBA plays longer minutes in ... hard 3-pointer makes the NBA have more of an interior game and lets only the best 3-point shooters take the shot ...
He finished as the second-leading scorer in the 1997 NBA Playoffs with a 31. 0 average, just behind Michael Jordan’s 31. 1. 1995-1996 Hardaway averaged a career-high 21. 7 points per game, 11 th in the NBA, and a team-high 7. 1 assists per game in earning All-NBA First Team honors.
He also contributed 4. 3 rebounds and 2. 02 steals (sixth in the NBA) in 36. 8 minutes per game, shooting a solid. 513 from the field, and set career highs with 89 three-pointers made and 283 attempted.
During the postseason he took on more of the scoring load, averaging 28. 3 points, 6. 0 assists, 4. 7 rebounds and 1.
7 steals per game, including a career-high 38 points in Game 1 of the emotion-charged Eastern Conference Finals against Chicago. He scored in double figures in 77 of 82 games during the regular season, including a career-high 42 points against New Jersey on Nov. 8 that helped him win NBA Player of the Week honors for the period ending Nov. 12. As Shaquille O’Neal started the season on the injured list due to a broken right thumb, Hardaway became the focus of Orlando’s early season attack, scoring effectively from the post as well as from outside. He helped the Magic get off to its fastest start ever as the team posted a 13-2 mark in November and was named the NBA Player of the Month after averaging 27.
0 points, 6. 5 assists and 5. 8 rebounds per game. Hardaway was the only player in the NBA to average better than 20 points and 5 assists and shoot over 50 percent from the field.
He led or tied for the team lead in scoring 28 times and assists 56 times and had game-winning shots against Miami on Nov. 11, Vancouver on Nov. 22 and Houston on Dec. 3. An All-Star starter as voted by the fans, Hardaway had a big game in San Antonio, scoring 18 points and handing out seven assists in his 31 minutes. 1994-1995 In his second NBA season Hardaway established himself as one of the best in the business.
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As the floor general for the Eastern Conference-champion Orlando Magic, he averaged 20. 9 points, 7. 2 assists, 4. 4 rebounds, and 1. 69 steals. He finished 15 th in the league in scoring (first among point guards), 14 th in assists, and 14 th in steals.
He shot. 512 from the floor (24 th in the league) and hit 87 three-pointers for a. 349 percentage. The Magic went 11-0 in games in which Hardaway scored 30 or more points. On February 26 he scorched the Chicago Bulls for a career-high 39 points, hitting 17 of 25 shots, including the game-winner with 0. 7 seconds remaining.
His previous career best had come on December 16, when he burned the Golden State Warriors for 38 points. Hardaway tallied 19 assists against the Boston Celtics on April 13 and 18 assists versus the Miami Heat on April 15. He missed five games during the year, four to dehydration and inflammation of the esophagus suffered late in the season. Fans voted Hardaway to a starting spot in the 1995 NBA All-Star Game, and he scored 12 points and dished for a team-high 11 assists.
He was also named to the All-NBA First Team at season’s end after helping Orlando to the league’s second-best home record of all time at 39-2. As well as he performed during the regular season, Hardaway was even better in the playoffs. The Magic dispatched the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls in the first two rounds, won the Eastern Conference in a seven-game tilt with the Indiana Pacers, and then were swept in the NBA Finals by the Houston Rockets in four games. Hardaway increased his scoring average in each of the successive rounds: 15.
5 points per game against Boston, 18. 5 against Chicago, 19. 6 against Indiana, and 25. 5 against Houston. He shot. 500 (35-of-70) from the field in the Finals, nailed 11 three-point goals in those four games, registered four double-doubles in points and assists in the playoffs, and averaged 7.
7 assists for the postseason. 1993-1994 As early as his sophomore season at Memphis State, Anfernee Hardaway’s game was so polished and his skills so diverse that he was hailed as the second coming of Magic Johnson. By his junior year, the 6-foot-7 guard was a consensus First Team All-American and a two-time Great Midwest Conference Player of the Year. When the man they call ‘Penny’ announced he would pass up his senior season to enter the 1994 NBA Draft, he became one of the most coveted prospects in the land. Hardaway landed on the roster of the Orlando Magic, but not until after the biggest draft-day trade in recent history.
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The Magic had won the draft lottery and selected Chris Webber with the first overall pick. After the Philadelphia 76 ers took Shawn Bradley at No. 2, the Golden State Warriors claimed Hardaway at No. 3. But the Warriors were looking for a big man, and the Magic were looking for a backcourt complement to Shaquille O’Neal. As a result, Orlando traded Webber’s rights to Golden State for the rights to Hardaway and three future first-round draft choices.
Orlando Coach Brian Hill viewed Hardaway as the team’s point guard of the future, but Hill elected to bring the rookie along slowly. Through the first half of the season, Hardaway started at the off guard slot while veteran Scott Skills started at the point. But by mid season Hill felt Hardaway was ready, and on February 6 Penny became the Magic’s starting point guard for the rest of the year. The multi talented rookie had a phenomenal first season, finishing a close second to Webber for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Hardaway played and started in all 82 games, averaging 16. 0 points, 6.
6 assists and 5. 4 rebounds. He also set a club record with 190 steals, and his average of 2. 32 steals per game ranked sixth in the NBA. Hardaway was named NBA Rookie of the Month for January after averaging 20. 5 points, 7.
0 assists, 5. 7 rebounds, and 3. 33 steals over 15 games. In February, Hardaway was named the MVP of the NBA Rookie Game during All-Star Weekend in Minneapolis. He scored 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the floor.
Bolstered by Hardaway’s contributions, the Magic set a franchise record with 50 victories and advanced to the playoffs for the first time ever. Orlando lost in the first round to the Indiana Pacers, but many felt that, for the Magic and for Hardaway, the best was yet to come.