On a rebuilding team, particularly one that entered the season with playoff aspirations and currently owns the worst record in the league, no job is safe.
Naturally, the first to go is often the head coach. So it’s no surprise that Frank Vogel could be on the hot seat. Perhaps more surprising was a report of who his replacement could be.
Mitch Lawrence of the Sporting News reported on Wednesday that the Magic’s first choice to replace Vogel would be Jerry Stackhouse, a former Toronto Raptors assistant coach who is currently the head coach of the organization’s G-League affiliate.
Lawrence did not list any sources. And Stackhouse, as one of the popular up-and-coming coaching candidates, will draw interest from any team that has a head coaching vacancy after the season. Lawrence, though, bases Orlando’s interest on Stackhouse’s relationship with the Magic’s ultimate decision-maker, Jeff Weltman, who was the general manager of the Raptors while Stackhouse was an assistant coach with the team.
Orlando could be making a coaching change, with former NBA player Jerry Stackhouse seen as the Magic’s No. 1 choice to replace Frank Vogel. After a 20-year career in which he was twice an All-Star, Stackhouse has coached Toronto’s G-League team and has close ties to Jeff Weltman, now running the Magic as president of basketball operations after being with the Raptors and seeing Stackhouse up close when he was an assistant coach.
Facing another restart on their perpetual rebuild, would the Magic’s best option be to go with a coach with no NBA head coaching experience? Those who dreaded the Jacque Vaughn experiment (58-158 in two-plus seasons as coach of the Magic) likely aren’t thrilled with the idea.
But on the other hand, Vogel joined the Magic with an impressive resume and has been unable to find even modest success in Orlando, albeit through just a season and a half. After spending eight years as an assistant coach, Vogel took over as head coach of the Pacers and guided Indiana to the playoffs in five of his six seasons. He entered as a coach who emphasized defense, solidifying the Pacers as a top-ten team in defensive efficiency.
That has not carried over to the Magic, who currently have the fourth worst defensive rating in the league, allowing 109.1 points per 100 possessions. Vogel, after going 250-181 with the Pacers, has a record of 47-96 with the Magic for a .329 winning percentage.
Is Vogel the problem? Or is it more a result of him being forced to work with a group of misfits ill-equipped to become a defensive-oriented team (namely Nikola Vucevic and, before he was dealt, Elfrid Payton)?
I’d be surprised if the Magic scrape Vogel’s name off the door to his office this off-season, and I’m willing to give him another year to make some progress with the team. But if they do fire him this summer, Stackhouse seems a prime candidate to replace him. IMO, better to let a young coach develop with a rebuilding team rather than have an experienced coach attempt to fit the players he is given into an established system.
Do you view Stackhouse as a legitimate replacement for Vogel? Would you rather they hire another experienced and successful coach? Or would you rather the Magic just stick with Vogel?
Join the debate below....