The Orlando Magic have been at the bottom of the totem pole in the NBA for the past six years.
Since the beginning of their rebuild six years ago, the Magic have turned over coaches left and right. They’ve fired a general manager who, by all accounts, was under qualified for the position, and put the team into salary cap purgatory with poor spending decisions. They’ve failed to fully develop players, and have, at times, moved on from young players for veterans in hopes they’d help turn them around.
Seemingly every move has fallen flat, and left the Magic desperately searching for answers.
One of those came early Thursday morning, when the franchise moved on from head coach Frank Vogel.
Vogel, who in two years with the franchise went a lowly 54-110, was the man tabbed to turn things around and get them on the right path. Taking the next step forward never happened, and ultimately cost Vogel his job.
The 44-year-old coach ultimately took the fall when he was thrown into a no-win situation.
With Rob Hennigan being fired after the 2016/17 season, Vogel was, in some ways, a lame duck. The Magic’s new front office of Jeff Weltman and John Hammond had no ties to Vogel, which likely had some impact on their decision to let the man who led the Indiana Pacers to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals go.
Weltman and Hammond, however, never gave Vogel the chance he fully deserved.
With virtually the same roster from last season — and from the previous failed seasons — Vogel was not given the tools to go out and be successful. The roster has the same flaws that it did in previous seasons, and a coach can only do so much to get players from falling back into continual bad habits.
Add in the Magic’s injury plagued season — of the team’s opening night starters, none played more than 58 games this season — and the deck was even more stacked against Vogel.
Vogel was never given a chance to work with Weltman and Hammond and bring in players who he could work with and try to build something with. He was stuck with a roster of broken pieces, and took the fall for the problems that Hennigan left the organization saddled with.
Now, looking for their fifth coach in seven years, the Magic will have to answer a lot more tough questions.
Will they move on from a flawed roster and finally turn it over, or will they bring back the same cast of misfit toys? Will they find a coach who, in actuality, is a better option than Vogel not only in the short-term, but the long-term as well? What kind of impact will changing their coach yet again have on their ability to lure free agents?
Frank Vogel didn’t take the steps forward that he and the franchise needed, and that ultimately cost him his job. Vogel took the fall when he was put in a position to fail from the start.
Now, the questions will continue to swirl as the Magic search for any answers they can find.