Rob Hennigan opened his second Media Day as the Orlando Magic's general manager with this statement:
I'm really, really excited about the season. I think our players and our coaches did a really good job over the summer of really instilling a mindset of work, discipline, [and] consistency. I'm looking forward to building off that momentum and getting started.
His remarks set the tone for Media Day, during which the Magic's players, to a man, talked about the virtues of their summer work and how thrilled they are to get to work on the 2013/14 season.
One positive development that Hennigan saw over the summer was the initiative that his team's young core took to work out together, but also to hang out away from the practice floor. "I think any time you can activate some chemistry and continuity and build some familiarity, that's always a good thing," Hennigan said. "I think the time that our players were able to spend together this summer is a right step in the direction to do that."
Just a few minutes prior to Hennigan's engagement with the media, head coach Jacque Vaughn quoted Bill Withers, who once said, "on your way to 'wonderful,' you're gonna have to pass through 'alright.'" Hennigan was asked about Vaughn's analogy.
"I think his analogy is right on. I think all of us, we know where we wanna be, we know where we wanna get, but we don't want to skip steps along the way. I think all of our players get that, all of our coaches get that, and we're looking forward to building in that direction this season."
In his year-plus on the job in Orlando, Hennigan has shaped a roster built around versatility and positional fluidity. One story on which many Magic fans will have their eye is where Victor Oladipo, the second overall pick in June's NBA Draft, will spend most of his minutes: though he played shooting guard at Indiana, the Magic expect him to play significant minutes at point guard as well. Tobias Harris can shift between forward positions, and Maurice Harkless figures to split his time between shooting guard and small forward. Vaughn, the coach Hennigan hired to lead the rebuilding effort, even said that the only real position in the NBA anymore is center. Hennigan does indeed see the league moving in an apositional direction.
"I think versatility is becoming more and more in vogue as, I guess, traditional positions may not be as concrete, if you will," Hennigan said. "I think the more versatile you can be, the better you are to be prepared for anything that gets thrown at you."
One thing thrown at the Magic, and at the league at large in 2013, is the expansion of SportVU cameras into all 29 of the league's arenas, as Grantland first reported in August; Orlando first got SportVU cameras, which track the ball, players, and referees on a second-by-second basis, in 2012. Hennigan isn't quite sure what to do with the data yet.
"I'm not smart enough to be able to tell you today what all that information's gonna tell us," he said. "I know that we'll work on trying to find ways to create advantages and find new ways to help us educate ourselves on what's happening with our own team and what's happening with other teams. But in terms of the 'secret recipe' that will come of that, I'm not quite sure we even know quite yet the full capacity of that system."
As the Magic look toward their future, they must also address some of the past. Hennigan told the Orlando Sentinel on Friday that veteran forward Hedo Türkoğlu will not be with the team for training camp or throughout the season as the team works to buy him out of his contract. Hennigan did not have an update on that buyout process, but did discuss the topic when it came up.
"We're still working on a buyout," Hennigan said. There's no timetable for when the sides will be able to reach an agreement: "Time will tell. I think the hope would be to have it [done before the season starts], but sometimes what you hope for doesn't come true."
But sometimes, of course, it does. Regardless of how Türkoğlu's situation plays out, Hennigan's biggest hope is his team's continuing to grow. If that hope comes true, then he'd probably feel better than just alright.