Five years removed from their last playoff appearance and goodness knows how far away from their next one, the Orlando Magic flipped their front office. Out went general manager Rob Hennigan, who was hired at age 30, and in came president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman and GM John Hammond, who have each spent nearly 30 years working in the NBA.
Those two veterans have begun a period of evaluation after last season's promise of progress turned to regression. In an interview with CBS Sports, Weltman said they will have a "cautious approach" with an eye on both the big picture of team-building and the small details of how the staff gathers information and communicates. He thinks it is management's responsibility to understand the history of "what personal and team dynamics have rolled out and unfolded in the years prior to our arrival," and he will measure this season's success by more than just wins and losses.
"We want to bring in the right sort of people, add to the group that we have, with talented players who will play for each other," Weltman said. "We want to have fighters. We want to be the sort of team that improves over the course of the season. That comes down to character, work habits, team orientation and that's what we're looking for this year."
Under the previous administration, Orlando never developed much of an identity. Weltman and Hammond were brought in to change that. First things first, they must create an environment where their players, most of whom were inherited, can show their best.
In Aaron Gordon, Orlando has a versatile forward with star potential who will be a restricted free agent next summer. Guard Elfrid Payton, who will also be a restricted free agent, was quietly excellent in the second half of last season. Nikola Vucevic is a solid traditional low-post center, Evan Fournier is an efficient scoring wing and rookie Jonathan Isaac could be anything. The big questions are how these pieces fit and how many of them will still be on the roster when the Magic are relevant again. For that, Weltman and Hammond will tap into their pasts and the NBA's future.
There is no Magic formula: Orlando's new front office explains its patient plan
CBS Sports | Oct 25