When news first broke that the Orlando Magic decided to keep around head coach Jacque Vaughn, I was scratching my head a little bit. Vaughn, who is still in the training stages as an NBA head coach, has yet to really get the most out of the talent level Magic general manager Rob Hennigan presented to him.
Granted, Vaughn is still in the training stages of his NBA coaching career and the Magic’s talent pool is one of the youngest in the league, but there was not any doubt that given the Eastern Conference weak state, the Magic should have been a playoff team this season. Part of the reason why Orlando was on the outside looking in was because Vaughn simply couldn’t put together a consistent roster.
Victor Oladipo and Tobais Harris should had been starters all year long, but instead those two incredible talents spent a good chunk of the year coming off the bench, and the damage it caused to the team’s cohesiveness was glaring.
With news that Mark Jackson is looking for a new head coaching job now, it makes my stomach curl that Jackson would have been a great fit to lead this roster of young, budding talent.
Jackson was in a similar situation with the Golden State Warriors when he was hired in 2011. The Warriors had the talent to compete, but just needed some cohesiveness and direction. That is what Jackson did. He knew the talents he had in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and worked his teaching skills to make them better players. Jackson also tuned Harrison Barnes into one of the top sixth men in the league and made David Lee into an All-Star worthy power forward.
Jackson brought stability and a sense of purpose to a Warrior team that was desperately lacking both, and remade Golden State into a team that will be contenders for years to come.
Orlando is in the same position as the Warriors were in 2011, a team that is in desperate need of stability and a sense of purpose. Judging from his first two years at the helm of the Magic, I just don’t know if Vaughn is the guy to get this team over the hump.
Jackson would had brought these intangibles to Central Florida. But unfortunately, that is now only wishful thinking.