Orlando Magic Season Preview

Send Him to Disney Land!

 

Breaking: The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic. They’ve once again milked the NBA for everything that it has to offer and will be over 30 million dollars over the luxury tax.

Oh, what else is new, right?

Right.

In case you didn’t know by now, Dwight Howard is a Los Angeles Laker. He’s gone from Disney World to Disney Land in one summer and now the Magic are back on the path of rebuilding their franchise after losing a centerpiece…once again.

If history is correct, they’ll end up acquiring Shabazz Muhammad or Jabari Parker and they’ll either get hurt or decide to leave. But hopefully, the Magic have a change of luck.

In the four team blockbuster deal–that should’ve been done long before August and probably should’ve been done with the Rockets–the Magic ended up acquiring Arron Afflalo  and Al Harrington from the Nuggets, Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless from the 76ers, Christian Eyenga and Josh McRoberts from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Along with that plethora of potentially good role players they acquired five draft picks: a protected first in 2015 from Philadelphia, the Nuggets lowest first rounder in 2014, a protected first round pick in 2017 from the Lakers, a 2013 second round pick from Denver, and a conditional pick from LA in the second round of the 2015 draft.

I think I got all of that right. I’m sure I did, and if I didn’t you can go look and see if I did. Then come back and tell me how much of an idiot I am for that.

Getting back on track, the Lakers obviously came out winners in that trade for the short term. However, the Magic look to have plenty of assets to work with for the next few years.

They can use these young players and draft picks as assets for a myriad of things. They can swing trades with teams that potentially don’t want their lottery pick–circa Wizards ’09–or find another superstar that doesn’t want to play for a team and make a trade for them.

As bad as the situation seems at first glance, when you step back and take a look at it one starts to think that Rob Hennigan may be crazy enough to make this trade work. Getting a player or two out of this isn’t something that’s totally absurd.

The Magic have three things that teams love the most: youth, money, and draft picks. There’s at least 25 to 27 teams that are going to need these pieces somewhere along the line. The few select that won’t will be in the Conference Finals.

Hennigan has seen things turn from nothing to something. He’s from the Oklahoma City tree of life. If he believes that these assets will work out for him in the end then we should as well.

Jacque-ing Hire

Pretty catchy, right? I charge $5 per title if my services are requested…

I digress. If you’ve been living under a rock over the summer, then you’ll be glad to know that the Magic hired Jacque Vaughn as their new head coach now that Van Gundy is out of the fold.

We’ve been over this hire on WLOTF before, so you should probably go take an in-depth look at that.

Was Vaughn the right hire? Probably not. There were plenty of better options that may have been able to be enticed into coming into the Magic’s situation. I don’t believe that that’s the proper question though.

The question that we should be asking is whether or not Vaughn is a good hire or not. The answer to that, I believe, is yes. Though Vaughn is very young–only 37 years old–I think that he has the metal toughness and tenacity to be a head coach.

He was coached by some of the best minds the game of basketball has ever seen. Those names include Gregg Popovich, Roy Williams at Kansas University, and Jerry Sloan. He knows what good coaches are like and will take some of their mannerisms and make them his own.

He has two years of assistant coaching experience under Gregg Popovich as well so he knows what the coaching bench is like. Learning from one of the best to ever do it is never something that should be overlooked. Especially when coaching.

He’s big on player development and efficiency. Here’s a quote from the Washington Post on Vaughn being an efficient coach.

“Stockton used to tell me, ‘Work me hard, but don’t work me long. Work me long, but don’t work me hard. You have to pick one.’ I never forgot that,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn on Roy Williams: “He was the most efficient coach I’ve been around,” Vaughn said. “His practice plans were pretty much to the minute and I’ve taken that. It was a good session as far as efficiency today.”

Via Washington Post

Those are some of the things that the Orlando Magic players are going to need. They’ll need to learn how to be efficient as players and that will come with their development. Vaughn learned player development under Pop. He’s one of the reasons why they had so much depth coming from off of their bench.

I believe that Vaughn is a pretty good hire. He’s cheap, which helps the rebuilding process, so if he doesn’t pan out it won’t be too much to let him go. A big name coach would have a much bigger impact on the team’s money situation. We’ll see how things work out in Orlando.

Minute Allocation

These minutes are probably going to look a bit messy. The Magic probably have one of the worse rosters in the NBA and it lacks balance.

Also, Moe Harkless and Ishmael Smith will be out for at least the  first two weeks of the season and will miss all of training camp due to injury complications. The Magic will struggle with their depth because of these factors.

Starters

Jameer Nelson- 32.3 Mpg

Arron Afflalo- 30.1 Mpg

Al Harrington- 27.2 Mpg

Hedo Turkoglu- 29.1 Mpg

Glen Davis- 34.5 Mpg

Reserves

J.J Reddick- 24.2 Mpg

Gustavo Ayon- 20.3 Mpg

Quentin Richardson- 18.2 Mpg

Nikola Vucevic- 22.4 Mpg

Ishmael Smith- 19.7 Mpg

Moe Harkless- 22.9 Mpg

Andrew Nicholson- 20.6 Mpg

Christian Eyenga- 15.2 Mpg

E’Twaun Moore- 18.6 Mpg

Conclusion

The Orlando Magic are starting all the way over, obviously. They’re going to have a lot of work to do to get this team back into playoff contention. They lost one of the top two or three best players in the game. Its going to take a while for that to sit in.

While they’ve taken a huge hit and won’t be very good at all next season, they still have assets that should give them a glimmer of hope for the next three or four years. Maybe even more depending on how Hennigan works with them.

 

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