The San Antonio Spurs handed the Orlando Magic their 10th straight loss on Wednesday February 4th, and the next day the Magic announced that their head coach Jacque Vaughn had been fired.
Vaughn was in his third season with the Magic. The former assistance coach to the Spurs Gregg Popovich was hired at the beginning of the post-Dwight Howard era in Orlando after Stan Van Gundy was let go. Vaughn has managed only a 58-158 record in his two and a half seasons with the team, a win percentage of only .269—the worst in Magic franchise history and the NBA as a whole over the past three seasons.
With Howard leaving to join the Los Angeles Lakers, the Magic franchise was basically forced to start over. No one was really surprised when the team went 43-121 under Vaughn his first two seasons with the team; however, the front office felt the roster significantly improved over the offseason while the coaching did not. Orlando acquired both Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon (the 4th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft) this offseason, and with Victor Oladipo already on the roster they were expecting a significant improvement this season. The Magic are 15-37 this season through 52 games this season, the exact same record they had this time last season.
Word around the organization as of now is that one of the team’s assistant coaches, either James Borrego or Wes Unseld Jr, will be promoted to interim head coach will the Magic search for the 8th coach in their franchise history. League executives are speculating that the front runner for the head coaching position is former Magic player and former head coach of the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls, and Milwaukee Bucks, Scott Skiles. Skiles played with the Magic for five seasons as a player and earned a 443-433 overall record as a head coach in the NBA.
Whoever takes over as the Magic’s newest head coach will first need get the young stars in Orlando more involved in the game plan, especially Aaron Gordon. The 4th overall pick has managed only slightly over 6 points and 3 assists per game since coming into the NBA. Getting Gordon up to 15 points and 7 assists per game might be quite the job; however, the rookie’s involvement in the team over the next few years could be the difference between continued mediocrity and a possible playoff appearance in the near future.