The next few months for new Magic general manager Rob Hennigan can hardly be worse than his first few. After taking over in June, he tried to persuade a disgruntled Dwight Howard to stay in Orlando. When that didn't work, Hennigan shipped him to the Lakers in a four-team deal that left the Magic with a bushel of draft picks—likely late first-rounders—and some serviceable veterans with not so serviceable contracts.
Hennigan is no stranger to rebuilding projects; he was an assistant to Sam Presti in Oklahoma City. Hennigan's first coaching hire, 37-year-old rookie Jacque Vaughn, comes with an impressive pedigree, too, having played for and coached under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio. But until the new brain trust finds a marquee player to build around, vets Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu and Arron Afflalo will be tasked with setting a tone of resiliency, not defeatism. At the very least Orlando has enough talent on the roster to remain a tough out each night.
COACH: Jacque Vaughn (1st season with Magic)
2011--12 RECORD: 37--29 (3rd in Southeast)
OFFENSE: 94.2 ppg (21st)
DEFENSE: 93.4 ppg (7th)
PICK-AND-ROLL OFFENSE: 28.0 ppg (5th)
PROJECTED STARTING FIVE
situation like this is that it allows a player to get minutes, shots and opportunities he wouldn't otherwise get. More often than not, the more time you get, the more your strengths and weaknesses are exposed. So a guy like J.J. Reddick won't be able to score by just spotting up and shooting. He's going to have to do other things to get open.
Vaughn teases a competitive performance out of this group, and at the Magic's inevitable trip to the lottery, it comes up big.
Nelson and Afflalo tune out Vaughn, the team becomes a regular punching bag and the bad luck extends to the lottery.
Difference in Glen Davis's scoring average in the regular season (9.3) and in the playoffs (19.0) last season, the largest of any player. Davis led the Magic in playoff points, rebounds (9.2) and blocks (1.2).
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (NELSON)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (TURKOGLU)