Frank Vogel’s past will guide the Orlando Magic’s future

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 /

Frank Vogel was an important factor in helping the Indiana Pacers become a perennial playoff team and is hoping to do the same for the Orlando Magic.

After having a 10-game improvement last season, the Magic seemed to be on the right track under Coach Scott Skiles. Then, all of a sudden, Skiles surprisingly resigned after the season leaving the team’s direction in doubt.

Soon after Skiles’ exit, another coach became available.

As luck may have it, the Pacers opted not to renew Frank Vogel’s contract. That might have been the best-case scenario for the Magic in their coaching search.

Including the Magic, 11 teams were in search of a new coach this summer with big markets such as New York, Los Angeles and Houston needing a new man in charge.

Time was something not on the Magic’s side as they were competing with 10 other NBA franchises that also needed a head coach. They quickly set their sights on Vogel as their top target. To keep him from getting away to teams like the Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks or Houston Rockets, the Magic moved quickly.

They invested a lot of money, but it was also a connection that fit for both coach and team. Frank Vogel said he seemed to click immediately with general manager Rob Hennigan and the direction the team wanted to move.

It seemed a perfect match.

Vogel brings high energy on the court, brings a defense-first mentality and is a player’s coach. All are important qualities this young and hungry Magic team needs.

Vogel comes to Orlando with an impressive resume. He is a proven head coach and has playoff experience.

Before getting his opportunity as a NBA head coach, Vogel paid his dues as a NBA assistant coach for eight years with three teams. He also served as an advanced scout.

Vogel became the interim head coach of the Indiana Pacers during the 2011 season, after taking over for fired head coach Jim O’Brien. He never looked back.

Vogel guided the Pacers to the playoffs for the first time in five seasons and, as a result, was named the permanent head coach. He made the most of his opportunity.

Under Vogel’s leadership, the Pacers had a 250-181 record and made the playoffs in four of his five full seasons as a head coach. The one season he did not reach the postseason was when Pacers superstar Paul George injured his leg in a USA Basketball game during the summer of 2014.

Even without their best player most of the season, the Pacers just missed out of the playoffs. But Vogel was given a lot of credit for keeping them in the hunt all year.

Although the Pacers went to the playoffs on a consistent basis and achieved some success, they never got to the NBA Finals. In the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Pacers reached the first round twice, semifinals once and back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals.

The Orlando Magic are counting on Vogel to bring them back to the playoffs. In a similar situation to when he first took over for the Pacers, who had not made the playoffs in the five years before Vogel took them there, the Magic also have not made the playoffs in four years.

Will history repeat itself?

Vogel sees a resemblance between his old team and his new team.

"“I really see a lot of similarities to this team that I saw with the team that we took over in Indiana,” Vogel said during his introductory press conference. “That team had Lance Stephenson, Paul George and Roy Hibbert and it was still trying to find its way to get over that hump, but it then became a monster in the East. I see that similarity there.”"

Defense is what Vogel brings to the table.

During his five full seasons as head coach, the Pacers finished in the top six in field goal percentage and in top 10 defense efficiency every year.

With the additions of power forward Serge Ibaka and center Bismack Biyombo, Vogel has two defensive-minded players to work with in the Magic front court. Both players finished in the top 10 last season in total blocks.

Point guard Elfrid Payton has the talent on both sides of the ball, but had a down year last season defensively. With Vogel in charge now, he will try to help Payton become the defensive menace he was during his rookie year.

The Magic want to build off of what they did last season and continue to improve in the win column each year. Just like the Pacers did under Vogel, going from 37 wins in 2011 to 49 in 2013 and 56 in 2014.

Next: How can Aaron Gordon improve?

Frank Vogel has the talent on his roster and the coaching experience needed to take the Orlando Magic back to the NBA playoffs. The ball is now in his court.