Despite having one of the worst records in all of the NBA (19-48), the players and staff of the Orlando Magic believe that with hard work, team chemistry, and persistence the rebuilding of the program can become a major success in time.
With the trade of beloved Magic star Dwight Howard just two short years ago came the reconstruction of Orlando’s franchise that would consist of the lowest payroll? in the league and a unique group of young players.
Among the young but talented players is center Nikola Vucevic (23), who came as part of the Howard trade, and soon he?became a potential piece in the Magic puzzle. This season he averages 14.1 points per game,?11.1 rebounds per game and has started in all 49 games he’s played in. Vucevic’s numbers?are slightly down from last season, where he ranked fourth in the league in total rebound percentage.
Vucevic believes things are going to turn around for the Magic, but not without hard work.
?Even though we aren?t having a great season as far as our record, you still got to play and go out there and perform. Things are going to turn around, it?s us as players to make sure we are ready and eventually this thing is going to turn around for us,? says Vucevic.
Another building block piece for the franchise is?guard Arron Afflalo, who leads the Magic at?19.5 points per game.??He says this unit of men believe in team chemistry and growing together will eventually start to show results.
?Team chemistry is very important. When you have a group of guys who want to grow and build together chemistry is probably the most important thing,? explains Afflalo.
Guard Victor Oladipo has been a pleasant find for Orlando as well and he has had a solid rookie campaign.
Holding the reins on the rebuilding Orlando team is head coach Jacque Vaughn, who joined the Magic in 2012. Vaughn believes in consistency and constant improvement in order to achieve bigger goals.
?Every day you a ?have to learn. There?s lessons in life, there?s lessons on the basketball court We will continue to grow together; that?s that most important thing,? says Vaughn.
With only 15 games left in the season and no shot at playoffs this year, most players want to finish out the season strong with as many wins as possible.
When asked what his goal was for the rest of the season forward Tobias Harris said improvement and playing hard is the goal.
?Going out there each and every game and play as hard as I can; to just get better, that?s the biggest thing,? he said.
Harris averages 14.9 points and?7.1 rebounds and he?ranks 19th in most-efficient post scorer in the league this season, averaging 0.99 points per possession.
Currently 12 players are under contract for next season, with only four above the age of 25, and even less money on the payroll. Fans are starting to question whether the four extra draft picks over the next four years ( three being first-rounders) and hard work is going to be enough to make a playoff bound team.
Time will tell.
To hear audio from players and coach click below: