Magic GM Rob Hennigan didn’t directly answer a question from Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel today about whether coach Jacque Vaughn‘s job is safe for the balance of the season, though Hennigan described Vaughn’s performance as “solid.” Hennigan echoed Robbins’ report from Monday that the team is delving deep for answers to its continued struggles.
“Look, we’re clearly in a rut and we need to find our way out of it together,” Hennigan said in response to Robbins’ question about his job security. “The buck starts and stops with me. I’m responsible for the team and its performance, plain and simple. I’m constantly evaluating myself and ways in which I can do a better job for our team, and that will continue to be the case, and I’ll continue to make sure I’m evaluating every inch of the organization. It’s my job to make sure that we’re constantly evaluating every aspect of the organization from top to bottom. So, to your question, I’d say that everyone and everything is being evaluated right now. I wouldn’t be doing my job if that weren’t the case. I’ll also say that there’s not one isolated problem or issue and that we need to collectively be part of generating the solution.”
The Magic are coming off Monday’s upset win over the Bulls and sit just three and a half games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but their 14-27 record doesn’t otherwise indicate progress. It’s the third season for Hennigan and Vaughn, who came aboard the same offseason that the team traded Dwight Howard and began a rebuilding effort. Hennigan told Robbins that he believes the team has experienced more frustration than encouraging signs this year. Orlando exercised its team options for 2015/16 on both Hennigan and Vaughn during the past offseason, and Vaughn said recently that he’s not concerned about his job, as Robbins wrote in Monday’s report. Several players say Vaughn isn’t to blame, as Robbins also noted.
“I think Jacque has done a solid job. I think there are certainly areas that we can improve as a team,” Hennigan said when Robbins asked for his thoughts on Vaughn’s performance. “But it’s not our nature to rush to judgment on things. I think we understand there’s a lot of emotion, and we certainly acknowledge that. But as we evaluate anything, it’s our job to kind of eliminate that emotion. I’ve said that quite a few times, but I really do mean that when I say it’s our job to eliminate the emotion as much as we can, especially when it comes to evaluating the team and the staff and especially when we’re trying to troubleshoot challenges that we’re having.”
The Magic brought back only seven players from last season, and while Hennigan told Robbins he believes the turnover on the roster is “a little bit of a factor” in the team’s performance, he doesn’t see it as an excuse. He said that marquee offseason signee Channing Frye “will be just fine” in spite of his sharp decline in scoring this season in the first year of a four-year, $32MM contract, as Robbins relays.