The Orlando Magic have fully transformed this offseason, and now it’s time for chemistry class. Orlando Magic GM Rob Hennigan talked at the end of the season about the teams needs. They had weaknesses in their interior defense and scoring, veteran leadership in the locker room, and scoring.
But first, and emergency: Coach Scott Skiles throws the Magic a curve ball and resigns. All of Orlando was stunned. Hennigen had a plan. The Indiana Pacers were dissatisfied with the services of coach Frank Vogel and fired him after the season. Hennigan went into action and got a deal done to make Hennigan the Magic’s next head coach.
Then on draft night 2016, the Magic stunned the NBA world by trading fan favorite Victor Oladipo and two others for the services of Oklahoma City big man Serge Ibaka. The team was ridiculed throughout the NBA press but they didn’t see the whole picture. The Magic were deep in guards, and Oladipo, though a fan favorite, was one of their few valuable assets that they could get value for. It will be seen as a great deal, if Ibaka re-signs after his 1 year del expired.
The Magic later made a series of moves as the free agency period started. The team re-signed forward Evan Fournier and then went on a spree, signing point guard D.J. Augustin, center Bismack Biyombo and forward Jeff Green to free-agent deals. The team also completed its trade of Shabazz Napier to the Portland Trail Blazers for cash, and an additional trade for guard C.J. Wilcox. They also drafted rookie Stephen Zimmerman.
The Magic have also managed to pick up Jodie Meeks. Unfortunately Meeks underwent surgery to further stabilize the fifth metatarsal in his right foot — the same bone he fractured in the Detroit Pistons’ second game last season. His return is “indefinite” according to the Magic.
The team now has Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Mario Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Nikola Vucevic and journeyman point guard C.J. Watson left over from last year’s “nice guy” squad.
The question is, can coach Frank Vogel mesh these players in with his new pieces to make a coherent team?
“To me, chemistry and togetherness is something you earn, something you achieve and something you work towards by creating this culture where people like to come to work and people are playing for each other. You talk about selflessness and a team-first mentality.” Said Vogel “Whether we’ve been together for five years or are brand-new to each other, every year you’ve got to work to achieve chemistry.”
Ti is yet to be seen, and as you know, Magic fans have been waiting patiently for years for a winning team. This year should be interesting.