Can Frank Vogel break through offensively with the Orlando Magic?

May 23, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic head coach Frank Vogel is introduced as the new head coach as he talks with media during a press conference at Amway Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
May 23, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic head coach Frank Vogel is introduced as the new head coach as he talks with media during a press conference at Amway Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

It is no secret new Orlando Magic coach Frank Vogel wants his team to get up and down the floor next season. His history though has not come on offense.

As Frank Vogel has mentioned in just about every interview, he has done since being named the head coach of the Orlando Magic, he wants to run.

The current Orlando Magic roster has the makeup of a team with youth and athleticism as their strengths. When constructing this team through the draft, it seemed as if Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan had those same ideals in mind.

Hennigan drafted players with the same basic skill sets. He wanted defensive-minded players with versatility and a strong work ethic. This was the team he envisioned.

Now, it appears it is the same kind of team Frank Vogel envisions.

Frank Vogel believes the Orlando Magic can win. The way they do that is by capitalizing on their strengths. Their ability and desire to run and get breakaway dunks will not only score points but energize the defense even further.

This is not the way Vogel played in Indiana. His teams with the Pacers were slow, plodding teams with two big post players. Their tempo was slow and the offense struggled.

In Vogel’s first year as coach of the Pacers, the team finished in the bottom 10 in offensive rating for the 30-plus games he coached as the interim head coach. HIs offenses were inconsistent to say the least.

Vogel’s offense in that 2012 season finished eighth in offensive rating but then would go to 19th in offensive rating in 2013, 22nd in 2014, 23rd in 2015 and 23rd last year. The same sort of decrease occurred in the category of Points in the Paint per game (13th, 20th, 27th, 28th, 23rd) and fast break points per game (16th, 21st, 28th, 27th, 12th).

The Pacers were never in the top 15 in pace until last year when the team opted to play a faster style of play and the first half season Vogel took over as interim coach from Jim O’Brien.

There were plenty of excuses or reasons why the Pacers offense had its ups and downs.

Many of the Pacers woes for the 2013 season stem from the loss of the team’s leading scorer from the previous season, Danny Granger, who only played in five games due to injury. This was when the Pacers began transitioning to a young Paul George.

Granger would return in December 2013, but was not be the same player. The Pacers offense continued to slide and Granger would eventually be traded.

The Pacers would be handed another blow as emerging superstar Paul George suffered a devastating injury the summer of 2014 while playing for Team USA. That injury to George would cause the Pacers to miss the playoffs. The 2016 Pacers would return one starter from the previous season as players changed teams in free agency over the summer.

This while playing with Roy Hibbert, Lance Stephenson and David West as secondary pieces. It all affected the way the Pacers had to play.

With that said, maybe Frank Vogel was dealt a few bad hands which affected the performance of his offense. The amount of turnover on the roster to key players could not possibly help to build chemistry on the offensive end.

Somehow the Pacers managed only to miss the playoffs once during that stretch. Having the talent in the NBA is a must.

So too is the fit for the style.

Similarly, With Paul George, Roy Hibbert and David West being the main offensive threats for many of Vogel’s Pacers teams, they were not fit to implement the fast-pace offense Vogel envisioned.

This may not have been how Vogel wanted to play. The former Rick Pitino disciple would have liked to see more of an uptempo style of play, but did not have the roster to fulfill those dreams.

This team might.

As Vogel said earlier this week, speed is really going to be this team’s asset:

"“I think this Magic team has really good speed and we can do it even better than we did in Indianapolis,” Vogel said. “I think Aaron Gordon’s ability to play at the power forward position in today’s game gives you four guys who can push it and run and that’s incredibly valuable. That’s not even mentioning what Vic can do and what Elfrid can do. Evan can run and Hezonja’s ability to run the floor and have that electricity when he attacks the basket and finishes – I think this could be an exceptional running team and that’s the style that we’re going to play.“We grinded it out a couple of years there in Indianapolis because that’s what the personnel dictated and the style of play that group needed to play with. But I believe that this game is meant to be played in attack mode. And I really believe we have the speed and athleticism to do that with this (Magic) group.”"

Looking at the Magic’s current roster, the similarities to Vogel’s first year in Indiana are pretty similar, and he expects to get similar results. The Orlando Magic ranked 21st in offensive rating last season and 12th in pace. With a new uptempo offense, both of those rankings should improve.

If the Magic can stay true to this style of play, they will catch defenses out of place and force mismatches that lead to points.

Aaron Gordon has shown he can score many ways whether it is a high-flying dunk or from long range. Elfrid Payton gained more confidence in his jump shot as the season progressed. Victor Oladipo even broke out for a career-high 45 points last season, joining only six other players in the team’s history to reach 45 or more points in a game.

But there is still room for improvement. And that is where Vogel comes in.

With two high flyers like Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon alongside great finishers like Elfrid Payton and Evan Fournier, this new up-tempo style Vogel envisions should fit perfectly.

It is just a bit unproven as Vogel has not shown it very much. Then again, he led the Pacers last year coaching this way to the Playoffs. He did not get the opportunity to build it for a second year.

Imagine Elfrid Payton getting an inbounds pass after an opponent makes a basket, and sprinting down the court a la Russell Westbrook to see Aaron Gordon running toward the basket for a potential alley oop, Mario Hezonja on the wing for a 3-pointer or a dish to Oladipo trailing after the inbounds.

Next: Frank Vogel hits media circuit

The excitement that this team could create is invigorating.