Post-Dwight Howard Magic showing resilience

Cesar Tordesillas – 4E Sports Contributor

Orlando, FL, United States (4E Sports) – Despite a 12-19 record, the Magic appear headed in the right direction under new general manager Rob Hennigan and first-year coach Jacque Vaughn.

Hennigan has made wise front-office decisions based on what’s best for the franchise long-term rather than what popular opinion suggested.

Last summer, he remained patient on the suggested Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum trade.

The Magic didn’t want Bynum for a variety of seasons,including his persistent knee injuries and the unpredictability of being able to keep him when his contract expires after this season.

So, Hennigan still traded Howard, and acquired guard-forward Arron Afflalo, center Nikola Vucevic, Maurice Harkless, draft picks and salary-cap flexibility moving forward. Vucevic just had a 29-rebound game, better than anyone in team history, which includes Howard and Shaquille O’Neal.

Bynum hasn’t yet played for the Philadelphia 76ers due to knee problems.

The melding of veterans (Afflalo, Davis, Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick and Hedo Turkoglu) and young players has given Orlando much more optimism.

“Overall, we’ve gotten better,” Vaughn said. “That was the goal and the mission setting out the first game of the year.”

“Expectations-wise, we never put a number on how many wins or losses we were going to have,” Vaughn said.

“Really, it was an overall message of us getting better and creating an atmosphere where that’s our approach every day.”

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