Here we are once again; October will be the start of the 2016-2017 NBA season. The new season will feature the ultimate question, Who will win the NBA Championship. Will it be the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers or the new look Golden State Warriors? I have already heard that question many times throughout the off-season, but more questions were created with the many moves made during the summer.
Due to living in central Florida I’ve had the pleasure of attending many Orlando Magic games. The Magic made changes from hiring a new head coach in Frank Vogel to adding multiple veterans like D.J. Augustin and Jeff Green. The most shocking move that the Magic made this off-season was trading franchise player Victor Oladipo to the Oklahoma City Thunder for veteran Serge Ibaka.
The Orlando Magic are just one team that could possibly shake up the league this season but respect has to be given to the other teams that could very well cause some damage this season. There will ultimately be some upsets and surprises but hey if it didn’t happen then this wouldn’t be sports. In a recent Q&A Magic GM Rob Hennigan stated the following:
Orlando Sentinel: What’s a realistic expectation in terms of wins and losses?
Rob Hennigan: I think first and foremost our expectation is that we’ll cement an identity for ourselves as a smart, physical, unselfish, defensive-minded team. And we expect to make the playoffs.
OS: You’re reluctant to predict a win total?
RH: Yes. I prefer not to do that just because I’m not sure how relevant that is. What’s important is getting into the playoffs.
The expectations have been set, making the NBA playoffs is once again the goal in the city of Orlando and the team certainly has the talent to do so. Even new head coach Frank Vogel boasted of being excited about the new season.
Orlando Sentinel: Your first training-camp practice is scheduled for Tuesday. How much are you looking forward to finally having a practice?
Frank Vogel: Very excited, obviously. I’m very much looking forward to it. We did a lot of things this summer to change the makeup of our roster, including the coaching staff and the style of play that we’re going to play. I look forward to getting after it.
OS: What did you talk about when you met and spoke with players this offseason?
FV: You get to know them. Most of the guys on this team I don’t know. I talk about their family, where they’ve been, where they’re going, how they’re getting situated here, where they’re living — all those types of things. We talk about their former team and on the court how they were used, how they would have liked to have been used and try to create that for them here within what we’re trying to do as a team. And then [I] just talk about our system: why we’ve had success.
During this weeks’ Media Day’s there was a sense around the team that players were taking to Frank Vogel better than they had with former head Coach Scott Skiles who never seemed happy with the team or the front office. Sklies shocking exit paved the way for Vogel and forward Aaron Gordon recently highlighted a difference between the two.
With a new attitude and confidence in the newly extended Evan Fournier along with the maturation of Elfrid Payton, the Orlando Magic are not only poised to win the battle of Florida this season but also ascend into the playoff race which has been missing from the franchise since the departure of Dwight Howard.