It is a common refrain from me, from Jacque Vaughn and from everyone else. This is a year for young players to grow and learn. This is a year to make mistakes and create habits.
The habit part is probably the most important for this young squad. The one thing the Magic are guarding against in this period of losing is complacency or acceptance of losing. This is perhaps some of the reason why Orlando has kept veterans like Jameer Nelson, Glen Davis and Arron Afflalo around. These three players have kept the Magic hungry throughout the season.
And this young squad has shown that the investment has been worth it. Maybe not in the win column, but in the way the team plays. In just this past week, the Magic have shown an ability to fight and work their way back from impossible deficits. Learning to win is the next part.
Maybe the hardest part of that is winning close games. These are the games where one play unfairly gets pointed out and dissected more than any other. Many coaches, like the players they coach get judged on these plays. Vaughn is learning as much as his young players are for these late-game situations as a coach.
The final play in Friday's loss to the Bulls had a lot of observers somewhat confused. Most of that was the execution of it. The Bulls were focused on stopping Beno Udrih all fourth quarter and they did a good job containing the pick and roll. Udrih drove somewhat wildly into the lane and spun into traffic, tripping over his own feet or someone else's and turning the ball over. It was a tough way to lose a game.
So what can we learn from this play? This do-or-die play on what should have been the final play of the game.no comments