In an Orlando Magic offseason filled with secret meetings with general-manager candidates, potential coaches and a disgruntled superstar, one of the most important discussions started inside the Our Mother of Good Counsel gym in Bryn Mawr, Pa.
There, in early August, newly hired coach Jacque Vaughn and point guard Jameer Nelson started their working relationship. Vaughn watched Nelson train for the upcoming season, and after Nelson finished, the duo drove into downtown Philadelphia for dinner at a Del Frisco's steak house.
"I asked questions," Nelson remembered. "He answered them. He asked questions, and I had to answer. So, right then and there, I could tell we were going to get off to a good start."
The relationship between Vaughn and Nelson — brand-new head coach and veteran point guard — needs to work for the rebuilding Magic. Orlando likely will begin the regular season with three rookies and four second-year players on its roster, and more than ever, the team needs Nelson to be a leader.
In the best-case scenario, Nelson will serve as an extension of Vaughn on the court and as an empathetic big brother off the court when the squad endures rough games.
Those few hours in Pennsylvania might have built the foundation.
"We just opened the lines of communication," Vaughn recalled.
They share much in common.
Vaughn is 37 years old. Nelson is 30.
Vaughn played four seasons of college ball. Nelson played four seasons.
Bond between Jameer Nelson and Jacque Vaughn is key for the Magic
Orlando Sentinel | Oct 11