Magic GM Rob Hennigan Needs to be Fired
In 2012 the Orlando Magic were getting thought they were getting the next big thing when they hired Rob Hennigan from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Some labeled the 30 year old Hennigan as a genius because he not only worked with the Thunder, but he was with the San Antonio Spurs before that. At the time, it seemed like the Magic were on right track, but five years later no one could have imagined how wrong that sentiment was.
Everything started out great for Hennigan with the Dwight Howard trade. He was able to get draft picks along with Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless. Everything seemed to be going according to schedule, wins weren't coming, but the development of Vucevic had everyone excited, plus Harkless was a rotation player. After the season the Orlando Magic got the second pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and selected Victor Oladipo out of Indiana. There still wasn't the expectation to win, but the organization was trending the right direction, or so everyone thought.
There was a little concern after the 2013-2014 season because the team didn't show the dramatic improvement that some would've hoped. But with two lottery picks in the 2014 NBA Draft, fans assumed that the Magic's time was coming. They were in the weaker Eastern Conference, so they should've been able to show dramatic improvement. But that draft gave the first public inclination that Hennigan was in over his head.
The Magic somewhat surprised people with the selection of Gordon with the 4th pick, but it was widely reported that the Magic wanted Elfrid Payton with the number 12 pick. Philadelphia GM, Sam Hinkie, capitalized on this by selecting Payton with the 10th pick, and forcing Hennigan to trade a future first round pick that Orlando had acquired in the Dwight Howard trade. This was shortly before the NBA stepped in and eventually forced Hinkie out of the Philadelphia organization. To make matter worse, that pick is for this upcoming 2017 NBA Draft, which is projected to be one of the best in a long time. But even worse than making that trade, Hennigan has doubled down on his selection of Payton by refusing to sign another viable point guard, so Payton has to play.
Any true student of the game was skeptical of the Payton/Oladipo back court because neither of them could shoot. This was before the 3-point shot became so prevalent, but there were still concerns about floor spacing with those two on the court together. In the end the Magic ended up trading Oladipo and a lottery pick (Domantas Sabonis) for Serge Ibaka, who is in a contract year. Is Hennigan the only one that didn't notice Ibaka's game has been deteriorating for years? It's mind boggling to give up 2 lottery picks for the right to overpay Serge Ibaka.
That trade wouldn't have been so bad if Hennigan didn't compound it by signing Jeff Green and Bismack Biyombo. So even though Aaron Gordon and Vucevic were the players who showed the most potential, Hennigan effectively benched them by overpaying veterans, who weren't as good. Factor in that there is another lottery pick, Mario Hezonja, that hasn't played in two years, and it's fair to question is Hennigan knows what he is doing. This isn't a contender, so why aren't they developing young players? If you draft a player in the lottery, and give up on them in three years that is an indictment on the organization.
It would be one thing if it was just drafting/talent evaluation that was the problem, but he seems to hire the wrong coaches as well. Hennigan is on his his third coach in just five years. The Scott Skiles hire made no sense considering that he had a bad relationship with franchise cornerstone at that time, Tobias Harris. Skiles didn't play Harris when they were together in Milwaukee, so in hindsight it was silly to bring him on in Orlando. Harris signed a lucrative extension in the off-season, but he was gone by the trading deadline. Then Skiles resigned at the end of the season. This year the Magic brought in Frank Vogel after the Indiana Pacers didn't renew his contract. Vogel's big idea was to make Aaron Gordon like Paul George. The irony is one of the main reason the Pacers let Vogel go was because he didn't play Paul George at the 4, but Gordon is a natural 4 that he is now trying to make a 3.
Everything that Hennigan has touched has went bad. The franchise is turning into a joke. Being young, one would think that he would be more creative, but he seems to be stuck on what he's familiar with. Serge Ibaka and Jeff Green were with him at Oklahoma City. jacques Vaughan was with Hennigan at the Spurs, and Scott Skiles was a popular former Magic player, so he's bringing in people he 'knows', and it's still not working out. It's to the point that the organization is looking like a joke. Right now this team is further away from the playoffs than when Hennigan arrived, and they are in the Eastern Conference. Hennigan has had his chance, but he hasn't taken advantage of it, and it's time for him to go.