Management is “not happy at all”.
“We will not settle for this”.
Nor will the devoted fans……
Some scenes can’t be made up, a crowd showering an arena with boos in front of the longtime owner of a franchise who knows the struggle more than the victory. The Orlando Magic have had many great players (Shaquille O’Neal, Anfernee Hardaway, Dwight Howard) wear its’ jersey since the franchise’s inception in the NBA but despite two trips to the NBA Finals the Amway Center remains banner-less.
The Magic are close to 3 years removed from Dwight Howard forcing himself out of town but the franchise is still suffering from the affects of the “Dwight-Mare”. The fans were asked to be patient but in that patience there should be a reason for said fans to maintain faith. Outside of religion blind faith is hard to find in the everyday world and with a new coach and general manager in place the foundation was seemingly set however truth at times can be far stranger than fiction.
Currently the fan base is divided into two factions, one who’s just happy to have a team in town regardless of their lack of success and the other who has grown in numbers and also angst and it was that very angst that was transferred to the higher ups of the organization during a recent humiliating loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, a loss that laced the seat that head coach Jacque Vaughn sat in with kerosene.
|CEO Alex Martins, Jacque Vaughn, GM Rob Hennigan|
Classified as a good guy and a future good coach in the league Jacque Vaughn accepted the tough task of reading the franchise out of the Dwight-Mare and into playoff contention. The goal was simple, work hard for draft picks (Tank) in the first two seasons all the while growing talent for a playoff run in year 3. Effort had seemingly evaporated from the confines of the Amway Center and Vaughn had devolved from hot coaching prospect to scapegoat. Being a “good guy” can be a double edged sword and in this case the “good guy” will finish last. Vaughn was the right guy to coach the franchise because he was the right guy to take the fall and suffer for the sins of the father……Rich Devos. If was never if but when Vaughn was going to be the fall guy, his faults aside, he was never destined to come out the winner here. Vaughn’s record during his 2 1/2 tenure was 58-158. His predictable dismissal was akin to a second and panicked push of the reset button.
How much longer will the fans be asked to be patient?
How much time will GM Rob Hennigan be afforded with to right the ship?
More importantly, how long will the franchise remain in the Devos family?
“There are a lot factors certainly that go into how teams progress or regress,” Rob Hennigan said. “I think these rebuilding efforts are very difficult and oftentimes they’re most difficult on the coach, and that’s just the brutal reality of it, and we certainly recognize that and acknowledge that….Jacque had a very difficult task at hand, and he came to work every day with an enthusiasm and a passion and a consistency that I think the players absorbed. And no one worked harder than Jacque Vaughn. I can assure you that.”
A lack of vision breeds lack of success….success that the organization has lacked since the year of two thousand and nine. The reality is that Hennigan’s record as a GM reflects the results of his hand picked coaches, first Vaughn (over candidates Michael Malone and Jeff Hornacek) and now interim coach James Borrego. Hennigan’s next coaching hire will be the most important of his short stint as GM and will define his tenure for years to come in a positive or negative manner which is why much time will be taken to select the candidate.
“We’re not talking about timeline,” Hennigan said. “There is no timeline. We’re focusing day-to-day, like I said. J.B.’s our coach. We’ll continue to evaluate our team, as we always do, and proceed accordingly.”
Can you hear that Magic fans……….the clock is ticking; not only on the imminent coaching decision for the franchise but also on the tenure of GM Rob Hennigan.