Coaching Carousel: Orlando Magic
Who said Merry-Go-Rounds can’t be fun for adults? Well if you’re an NBA coach it might not be, but for us at Off the Glass they sure are. Let’s take a look at who's new and who’s through in this year’s coaching carousel.
*Photo via Foxsports
Out With The Old : Scott Skiles – 1st Year: 35-47 / 478-480 Career
In With The New: Frank Vogel - 6 years (Indiana Pacers) 250-181
What Happened: After one year with the team he set the single game assist record on, veteran coach Scott Skiles resigned after an up and down season. While the Magic did improve on the 14-15 run by ten games, the jump to the postseason that the Skiles hiring was thought to create did not happen. Flashes happened but so did bouts of inconsistent lineups and play with brilliant ideas like giving Jason Smith more minutes than Aaron Gordon.
What Could Happen: What the Magic get in Vogel is a coach known for coaching great defense and getting the most out of his talent. The latter was on full display when he did things like get an Indiana team into the playoffs with Monta Ellis as its second best player. Vogel also brought Pacers teams to leads in the playoffs against the LeBron led Miami teams earlier in the decade. These two are great bullet points on his resume and should bring good news to the fans in Central Florida.
One can make a case that this situation he is walking into has more talent the Hoosier state he just left. Orlando features a roster of young guards in Elfrid Payton, newly paid Evan Fournier and Mario Hezonja chased with recently acquired shot swatters in Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo. The combination of them and returning frontcourt players like Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic give Orlando many lineup possibilities to work with. Vogel’s best chance for success will be to mesh defenders like Biyombo and Gordon with scorers like Fournier and Vucevic.
The Magic best chance for success is for the coach to try and kick start the development of Hezonja, Gordon and Payton, all who are promising players with flaws. Hezonja, has the combination of bounce and shooting stroke to be special. However his atrocious defense is what is keeping his 20 PPG potential from seeing major minutes. Payton once drew comparisons to another guard of the same name, but his losing the ball and turnovers in crunch time led to Shabazz Napier or the departed Oladipo getting minutes in the clutch. Gordon is the franchise Powerball ticket and has the talent to turn things around and break laws on physics on the fast break. However, where he plays and his best role is still TBD. Like a Greek epic, the fates of these three and Frank Vogel are intertwined.
Prediction: 44-36 6th seed. – Vogel motivates the young guards to attack on the defensive end and finds a good rotation of bigs. Ibaka and Bismack protect Vucevic who despite having the feet on a Brontosaurus scores 20 a game.