The Magic have named former assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs Jacque Vaughn as their new Head Coach. Vaughn played basketball for the Spurs where he won a title, Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks, New Jersey Nets, and 80 games as a member of the Orlando Magic. GM Rob Hennigan continues his trend in hiring young, championship groomed talent in order to set a precedent for the team. Jacque Vaughn was coached by Doc Rivers, Jerry Sloan, Greg Popovich, and Byron Scott during his career, and only recently retired as a player in 2009.
According to the Orlando Pin Striped Post, Dwight Howard stated during a meeting with GM Rob Hennigan he would never sign a contract with the Orlando Magic. Fine, D12, we get it. But what about the rest of the Magic? Orlando will play reigning champions Miami Heat four times, and tackling the Western Conference force Oklahoma City Thunder once. If the Magic are hoping to make ripples in the lake, they will have to at least match a 2-2 Heat series and land a win over the Thunder. Let’s take a look at the some of the remaining players and how they can contribute to the 2012-13 season under new head coach Vaughn.
Orlando’s love-hate relationship with Hedo continues even when he decides to wake up and make some shots in the 4th quarter. As part of the 2008-09 Finals team, Turkoglu averaged 16.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists. This past year, Turk’s stats read 10.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. With Turk’s scoring being down, Magic fans have found their shots coming from recently traded Ryan Anderson, streaky Jason Richardson, or moody Dwight Howard. With little talk of trade talks involving Turk, the Magic fans will have to console themselves on the one aspect Turk has going for him. Let’s admit it, Turk can create plays. When both Jameer Nelson and Turk are on the floor, 3 point shots rain from the blue and white wearing Gods above. In order to rebuild the Magic properly, Turkoglu will have to step up in rebounds and making those mid-range jumpers.
I know many Magic fans were unhappy with the weight of Richardson’s contract when he signed mid-last season, but I feel he has given the team a veteran foundation lacking from previous years. Richardson absolutely goes cold from time to time. However, Richardson has started more comeback three point campaigns than he has staunched. With the likely departure of Dwight Howard and the incoming of two promising draft picks, the combination of Turkoglu and Richardson to guide the rookies will fast track any first year tips and tricks. Ultimately, if the Magic decided to extend Richardson’s contract, I would not be upset.
Oh, Q. Known for his defense abilities, Richardson finds himself in more scuffles than I’ve seen any other Magic player cause on a season-to-season basis. With that said, Q is a fountain of energy essential to the Magic. I’ve seen the Magic down by 30 in the 3rd quarter with Richardson coming off the bench, waving his arms in the air to reignite the crowd. Stan Van Gundy strategically placed Richardson on any opposing hot streak shooters due to Richardson’s inability to back down. Sure, sometimes there’s an elbow thrown, but the Magic receives a chance to close the scoring gap. On the comeback trail, Richardson can be relied upon to find the open spot in the perimeter, but unselfishly feed the ball into the paint when needed. On the other hand, Richardson’s defensive specialty could be a valuable trade asset down the road, but during this rebuilding time I think defensive measures are equally important.
Ever since Redick entered the NBA from Duke University, both celebrated and hated, commentators and media outlets have harped on his defensive talents. Due to the Redick’s size, 6’4 and only 190 lbs, standing defense against the bigger guards in the league has been tough. Yet, Redick makes up for his size in speed. More than any other bench player, and sometimes starting player, Redick will cross the court to challenge a shot no matter the likelihood of the swish. The irreplaceable talent of JJ Redick falls in his 3 point specialty. This may seem obvious, but commonly forgotten as Redick routinely sits on the bench for half a game unless Turkoglu is doing an especially terrible job. Keeping his 3 point percentage at 41% will help alleviate the loss of fellow 3 point specialist Ryan Anderson. I have a strong feeling more minutes will come JJ Redick’s way.
The Magic offense will see a completely revamped, energetic style under Coach Vaughn. With his basketball experience as a point guard, Vaughn will seek to inject a sense of urgency not only in PG Jameer Nelson, but to also help the rest of the team understand the importance of making the extra pass. Famous for 10+ 3 point shots made in a game, Orlando has seen many of those statistics come from plain ball hogging. Coaching with the Spurs, Vaughn will come into Orlando with a refined fundamental discipline, but with enough creativity to give the player’s opportunities they have not had since entering the league. Get ready, Magic fans. The 2012-13 squad will be unrecognizable.