The focus of management in building a roster is all about the long term right now. The Magic are signing Jason Maxiell and Ronnie Price this summer to help nurture and lead a young group of players in the locker room as the team suffers through a very likely losing season. It is the reason why Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis (despite whatever trade value they might have) remain some of the more importantp layers in the team's locker room.
The Magic's attitude as they approach the next season are just as important.
Rob Hennigan will not hide from the fact that he is looking at the long-term picture in building this team and its culture from the ground up. But he even admitted the team has a long way to go. Finishing with the worst record in the NBA is never a good thing (the Lottery is a lottery after all).
For those wanting to hold onto something from the 2013 or 2014 seasons, it will be in those little improvements and the willingness to work and improve from the young players like Nikola Vucevic, Maurice Harkless, Tobias Harris and Andrew Nicholson and all the others. Growth will be the buzz word as the Magic (and their fans) slog through what appears likely to be another growing season.
That growth though already appears to be occurring. It was all the talk of Summer League -- at least after the talk about Victor Oladipo and his strong play at that uncomfortable point guard position (for him at least).
"From the looks of it, he looks a lot more confident," Kyle O'Quinn said of Maurice Harkless. "He is going to what he knows his strengths are and he's more comfortable in his position. I think he is handling it very well with the help of the coaches."
James Borrego raved about Harkless' leadership on the team. He averaged 13.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game with just 2.0 turnovers per game in Summer League. Harkless shot 48.6 percent from the floor (although he went just 1 for 6 from beyond the arc).
Harkless showed more confidence as the season went on and seemed to gain even more in his weeklong performance. He stepped into the leadership role for the young squad and he was the guy players turned to. Specifically in that Philadelphia game, it was Harkless leading the charge in the last two minutes before Oladipo drained the game-winning shot.
"Just handling the ball, being aggressive when he catches," Borrego said of Harkless. "Handling it in pick and rolls, in transition. He just looks like a different player to me. Very aggerssive tot he rim looking for his shot when he has it. Defensively, he anchors us. He and Kyle O'Quinn really anchor our defense, talking and being aggressive. I've seen a lot of improvement from him."no comments