Every successful NBA team has an identity. For some, they take a high quantity of three-point shots, while others shift their focus on the defensive end. Some teams rely heavily on a free-flowing offense to help them generate quality shots possessions after possession.
After four seasons of struggling to find or build any sort of identity, the Orlando Magic must find and build theirs if they hope to take the next step in their prolonged rebuilding process.
With the hiring of former Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel earlier this week, the Magic have that coach in place.
After five and a half successful seasons with the Pacers, Vogel was shockingly let go by team president Larry Bird, who believed that the coach had, in a sense, plateaued with the group he was working with. After back-to-back conference finals appearances, the Pacers missed the playoffs last season -- in large part due to Paul George's gruesome leg injury -- and were knocked out in the first round this year, despite taking the second seeded Toronto Raptors to the brink of elimination.
Vogel comes in looking to build on what Scott Skiles was able to do in his lone season with the franchise. While the team was never able to build a consistent identity, they showed signs throughout the season, especially in the opening months, of being on the right track.
They have the personnel, and have shown they can do it in stretches, now they must be able to build and do things consistently, something Vogel can bring to the team.
"We're going to play a similar style of play as we did with Indiana," said Vogel. "We're going to have a defensive identity, which worked for us."
It should be no surprise that Vogel wants his team to be good on the defensive side of the ball. Through his successful stint with the Pacers -- he's the franchises' all-time winningest coach-- Vogel's teams never finished outside of the top-10 in defensive rating, and finished in the top-6 in opponent field goal percentage each year.
With the likes of Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton on the roster, the Magic have a set of strong defenders, who, when used properly and fully engaged, can make immense impacts. Oladipo's strong play on the defensive end even earned him a pair of votes for the All-Defensive teams this past season.
Even with Nikola Vucevic and Mario Hezonja in the fold, two below average defenders, the Magic will have a chance to build something strong with Vogel and find that defensive identity the team has so desperately wanted.
Should the team be able to forge their identity on the defensive side of the ball, it could open up opportunities for the team on the offensive side. If they're able to consistently get stops, and force turnovers, the team will be able to play fast, which would suit their stable full of young athletes who have shown dangerous in the front court already.
"We're also going to play a style offensively that adapts to the way the game is played on the offensive end," said Vogel. "We're going to play with pace. We're going to take advantage of the athleticism we have on this roster, run the floor and space similarly to the way a lot of these teams are playing in today's NBA."
If Vogel is able to do all of this with the Magic's young bunch, along with whomever the team adds in free agency, the Magic could be well on their way to returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
Nevertheless, building an identity for a team that hasn't had one in so long is no easy task. However, with the leadership of Vogel and his coaching staff, the Magic could get that hard nosed identity that they've been yearning for over the past few seasons.