Beginning their coaching search a mere week before, the Orlando Magic moved quickly to get a deal done with former Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel. The team made the hiring of Vogel official on Friday, eight days after Scott Skiles took his ball and went home after one year at the helm of the Magic.
For all intents and purposes, Vogel is an upgrade over Skiles in many ways. Not only has he had success, he's done it with a team in the same position the Magic currently are -- not that Skiles didn't, but his track record of short stays and spats with players is very well documented.
Vogel can come into Orlando and bring the team a voice that they haven't had in the past few years, someone who has been there, done that and succeeded seemingly since day one. He can also come in and give the Magic an identity, something that Skiles and his brilliant coaching staff of last season began to do. Ultimately, their goal of setting that identity failed just two months into the season, with the Magic turning back into the same bunch of lost puppies they had been the previous three years.
The 42-year-old former Kentucky Wildcat was the safe and smart hire for the Magic. But with the team in desperate need of a kickstart, it would have been nice to see them go out and get someone different, someone who maybe doesn't have that head coaching experience at the top-level to try and groom this Magic bunch into something bigger. Finding a high level assistant who's ready to move up into a head coaching role, or even a college coach looking to make the jump, wouldn't have been hard for a team that many considered to have the best available job. Add in the fact that the game of basketball is, arguably, and their continues to be an influx of young, bright basketball minds into the sport, the chances of hitting it big with someone who doesn't have head coaching experience are a bit higher.
Retread coaches can sometimes be hits. The Boston Celtics won their first title in nearly 20 years with former Magic head man Doc Rivers at the helm. Rick Carlisle began to build the early-to-mid 2000's Detroit Pistons into a contender before ultimate winning a title with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011.
Getting a coach that has had success isn't the wrong move, and more often than not, it pays off. However, sometimes it's a disaster, like Mike D'Antoni's time with the New York Knicks or Los Angeles Lakers, or Byron Scott's tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers and then Lakers.
To their credit, the Magic did show a willingness to look at options that might not have the same experience as Vogel. They interviewed their lead assistant from last season Adrian Griffin, who many believe is the next assistant to get a head coaching job. They also interviewed David Vanterpool of the Portland Trail Blazers, an offensive guru who has been credited with playing an important role in the development of both Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
But in the end, the Magic settled on the coach who has the experience, and a proven track record, which is okay.
At the end of the day, I believe the hiring of Vogel will turn out well for the Magic. Everyone knows what he can bring to the table, and he has shown he is able to get the best out of his players at all costs.
Ultimately, the Magic took the safe route, which will likely pay off in the long-run, but looking more off the beaten path could have served them just as well.