Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 10/1/12
ORLANDO, Fla. After eight years of being carried on the broad shoulders of Dwight Howard, Monday marked the beginning of a new era for the Orlando Magic. Coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith were dismissed following the season. Howard, a perenial All-Star for the Magic, was finally traded to the Lakers in August in a blockbuster multi-team deal after a turbulent 2011-12 campaign with the club. So the Magic enter the 2012 season with a clean slate from nearly top to bottom. "Fresh energy" is how new head coach Jacque Vaughn described the atmosphere. A few times during Monday's Media Day session, players gathered in the hallway had to be politely asked to lower their voices so as to not disturb an interview in progress. Minutes later, the rowdiness would resume. Were all excited, rookie Kyle OQuinn said. With entirely new management, new coaching staff and 12 new players, the Magic will have their work cut out for them this preseason trying to answer the question Vaughn presented during media day: Who will we be? As a coach, this is an extremely exciting time to think about getting a group of guys to play together," Vaughn said. "That is the ultimate task and goal. We brought in players who want to be coached, want to grow as a player and are willing to put in the work to get better every day. Better every day, seems to be the common thread Vaughn will use to tie this unfamiliar team together. It wont be an easy task. Ten players on the roster have fewer than three years experience in the NBA. But Vaughn is confident in his newly built coaching staff and their ability to develop young players and relate to them on a personal level. Its not just about teaching a player how to shoot a left jump-hook, Vaughn said. Player development is also about relationships. In both regards, I have some of the best guys in the league on my staff. Vaughn will also be relying on the veterans to provide leadership and direction throughout the season. Given his point guard background, he feels privileged to have the experience he does at the point in Jameer Nelson. I will lean on him heavily, Vaughn said. Nelson is eager to take on the extra responsibility. I am very excited, Nelson said. Its a lot of young guys and a lot of talent. But we have to work hard every day. Im ready for that. Im ready for whatever the coaches need me to do. Six days away from their first preseason game, there will be a lot for players to take in this training camp, but Vaughn believes he has the approach to make it work. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity, Vaughn said. I know it will take some time for us all to get used to each other, but the effort is what Im most concerned about. My team will give 100 percent every time we step on the floor. First-year general manager Rob Hennigan could not think of a more fitting person than Vaughn to hold the Magic to the standard of excellent effort this season. Jacque is someone who not only has an incredible capacity to coach, but he really does believe and live and breathe what we want to be about," Hennigan said. "Were really excited about the energy, the leadership, and the attention to detail he is going to bring.
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