On opening night, the Magic sported a veteran-looking lineup with Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis and Nikola Vucevic. Only Vucevic could be considered "young" and the team was establishing the base for its future growth by bringing rookies along slowly.
That experiment lasted all of one game. Hedo Turkoglu broke his hand and the Magic had two starting lineups in two games.
It did not take long for other injuries to take their toll on this roster and the plan to bring several rookies along slowly was pretty much stopped. The Magic now have had 20 starting lineups in 65 games, the most in the league. Now the Magic are using a lineup that indeed has a lot of young players -- second-year player Nikola Vucevic is joined with rookies Maurice Harkless and Andrew Nicholson and there were a few calls for second-year forward Tobias Harris to make an appearance at the beginning of the games before he started his first game in a Magic uniform a week ago.
For first year coach Jacque Vaughn, the shifts in the starting lineup have been something he has had to adjust to on the fly. There have been plenty of growing pains as Vaughn has had to throw young players into the fold sooner than anticipated just to field his best team.
"I don’t think we can expect to see any lineup the way this year has gone," Jacque Vaughn said before Sunday's loss to the Grizzlies. "We lead the league in most lineups and that is by circumstance. We’ll deal with whatever circumstance comes about.
"If the first game of the year w edon’t have a player hurt, I would love to have the same five guys that I started at the beginning of the year playing right now. Injuries and other things don’t always cooperate. Just like the opponents don’t always cooperate. I’d like to box them out but they don’t cooperate all the time. They don’t allow that."
The year has been about the improvement and Vaughn has continually said he would put players in a position where they could succeed. That has meant inconsistent minutes at times for rookies like Maurice Harkless, Andrew Nicholson and DeQuan Jones -- each have started more than 15 games this season.
Vaughn has taken a wait-and-see approach when it comes to the starting lineup each night. Andrew Nicholson, Maurice Harkless and DeQuan Jones have gone from starting one game to out of the rotation the next. Lately it has been Nicholson sitting out, having started 14 conseecutive games before last week when Harris entered the lineup.no comments