Frank Vogel isn’t the first coach to eye the Orlando roster — Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton, Mario Hezonja, and whoever the team picks at No. 11 this NBA Draft — and think they could win with that.
Vogel just thinks his timing is better — Jaque Vaughn and Scott Skiles laid the foundation, now he just has to build on it.
Vogel was hired this week as the Orlando coach in what looks like a fantastic fit — he can get this group to defend, find a little more creativity on offense, and he’s got a playoff team. As you would expect, he sang the praises of the roster speaking to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
“I believe in the young core that they’ve put together here,” Vogel told the Orlando Sentinel in an interview Friday.
“The young talent, I think, is a really good situation. They’re ready — ready to take that next step. I feel like they’ve gotten some of the growing pains out of their system, as you deal with in any kind of rebuild situation. The team really reminds me of the team I took over here in Indianapolis, with the young Paul George, Lance Stephenson and Roy Hibbert. Those guys hadn’t really seen success at the NBA level, and we were able to just bring a positive energy-and-enthusiasm type of approach to the young talent that they had and we watched them grow. It was really special. I see a lot of similarities with the depth of the young talent that we have on this roster.”
That’s high praise. And lofty expectations — which one of these guys is a Paul Goerge? Aaron Gordon?
Vogel deals in positivity, which will be a change for this team after Scott Skiles more old-school style. Notice he started by saying he believed in the young core — Skiles unexpectedly walked away from this job this summer in part because he didn’t see in this roster what GM Rob Hennigan did (particularly in regards to Payton).
We will see how Vogel uses these players. I would love to see more Gordon at the five spot, and that may happen.
“I think smaller lineups are definitely valuable and needed in today’s NBA. So I think I’ve just grown in flexibility to try to adapt to today’s game really on both ends of the court: having the defensive versatility to do it but also getting involved in the running game. I look forward to having more of an opportunity in Orlando to try to execute more of an analytically based offensive approach where we are shooting more 3s, we are spreading the floor more and sort of breaking the mold the way a lot of teams in this league have done in terms of how the game is played.”
This team is not far from the playoffs in the East, maybe some growth and a positive attitude gets them there.