Jacque Vaughn’s Initial “Stay Patient” Message Rings True to Orlando Magic Fans

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The dream is that Rob Hennigan constructs a picture perfect blueprint and all the pieces fall into place. There are things that can’t be forecasted: injuries, lottery results and even to some degree, player development—but the fact remains, if Hennigan plays his cards right he could recreate the brilliance he displayed in helping build the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Hennigan is a crafty GM whose eye for talent is great. He’s essentially already spotted three great prospects and swooped in on them before the other team even knew what they were giving up. Those players are Nikola Vucevic and Maurice Harkless, who came from the Philadelphia 76ers; and Tobias Harris from the Milwaukee Bucks.

Harkless was a wild card because he had played just one season at Saint John’s before declaring for the draft. He’d displayed immense potential and he’s a great athlete, but his short time in the NCAA wasn’t of long enough duration for Harkless to exhibit just what he is: a potential lockdown defender who can still put the ball in the basket. Those guys have a lot of value in the league.

Apr 13, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) shoots against the Boston Celtics during the second half at the Amway Center. Boston Celtics won 120-88. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Vucevic already posted very good per-36 stats last season in Philadelphia. Hennigan noticed that production and believed the seven-footer could expound on it with more minutes. Vucevic was given a chance to compete for the starting 5-spot with Gustavo Ayon, and he won it so handily that Ayon isn’t even in Orlando anymore. Make no mistake, Vucevic is the future center of the Magic. But again, we always have to mutter, “We hope.”

The Magic hope Nikola Vucevic likes it in Orlando, and the same applies to Tobias Harris. The thing is, Harris is already very thankful for being given the chance to thrive in Orlando. In the 11 home games he’s played in, he’s averaged 18 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, and it’s all the more fitting that he wears Dwight Howard’s former jersey number.

Harris by all means could be a franchise player, and a truthful and accurate comparison for his game is Carmelo Anthony. The style of play is similar, and when Harris gets going, the scoring potential is nearly as great.

Harris has had two 30-plus point games now, including a 30 point, 19 rebound and five assist effort on April 10 against the Milwaukee Bucks, as Vucevic matched his effort with a nearly identical stat line and the Magic won in overtime. His three at the buzzer could have won it in regulation, for though he made the shot he missed the chance to covert it into a four-point play. The Magic dominated in overtime, and outscored the Bucks 18-8 in the extra period.

So, the Magic are a team with three great pieces all of whom have high upside yet are nowhere near their primes. The team has a host of draft selections, including first round picks from Phliadelphia, Denver and Los Angeles obtained in the Dwight Howard deal, though the teams have numerous stipulations on the picks.