Jacque Vaughn had an undistinguished 12-year career as you could have. He started only 123 of 776 career games and only started more than 41 games just once. That one season was in Orlando in 2003, his only season in Orlando.
Vaughn signed a one-year deal with Orlando in 2002. He left a year later for Atlanta as Orlando was in its surround-Tracy McGrady-with-whatever-they-could mode without much thought to long-term planning or anything else. This was a time of short-handed rosters and even more short-sighted moves. Vaughn was the point guard the last year this formula worked well enough for the Magic to continue doing it — although it took a 21-61 disaster to change paths.
Vaughn left Orlando having made little impact on the floor — Darrell Armstrong was the one who finished games although Vaughn started 48 of them — and continuing to build the experience he touted in his introductory press conference. The one year with Doc Rivers after a long tenure playing for Jerry Sloan led him to San Antonio to play and work with Gregg Popovich. That was the experience Vaughn cited to belie his relative inexperience as a coach.
Vaughn spent one year in Orlando and was let og as qucikly as he signed. Why would he come back?
“For me, it was the DeVos family,” Vaughn said. “I’ve never seen their commitment waver one bit — when I was here, when I left, and now that I am back again. And that is a great thing to say.”
It took little convincing of Vaughn’s family to make the move to Orlando. The opportunity was an incredible one, one that no young coach could afford to pass up. He just had to say Disney and his kids were on board. That was not an issue, Vaughn said, when he decided to sign with Orlando back in 2002. The DeVos family was there though. And that appears to be the driving force for Vaughn to make the return to Orlando.
Dan DeVos said in his introduction that Vaughn greatly impressed the 14 members of the DeVos family he met in Michigan for his final round of interviews. There was no doubt in the DeVos family that this was the right decision for the franchise.
There has been great anxiety among Magic fans as another superstar — the third big superstar in franchise history — seems ready to reject Orlando as a viable franchise.
Dwight Howard might contradict Vaughn’s feeling that the franchise is will to do what it takes to win a championship. After all, he wants out mainly because the franchise has fallen so far out of the championship race and has not completely catered to his desires.
Vaughn though saw something different — just like Jameer Nelson and so many other players have seen something different and have stuck with the DeVos family and their team. He did see a franchise that is committed to winning. That should be shown in the way the franchise has spent its money in the last few years and has always tried to put a winning product on the floor — even if that kept the team in mediocrity.
The Magic now are trying a different tact to get to a championship. One that considers the long term repercussions and building more than short-term fixes to get a winning team on the court. Vaughn bought in to this new plan to get the Magic back to the top. And he believes in what the DeVos’ have done in the past and what they are trying to do in the future.
Otherwise, why would he return to Orlando?
Vaughn is back because he believes on the message and the people from the top down. Now the building can begin.