The Magic currently sit at 15-37, and are maybe the worst team in the league that isn't actively attempting to lose basketball games. That is a 24-win pace for a full season, which would've been Vaughn's best if the Magic had let him stick around to finish it. Yes, the Magic have been that bad in Vaughn's two-and-a-half seasons. But also, could a casual basketball fan name even a single player on the Magic? They decided (understandably) two seasons ago to trade Dwight Howard for a bunch of prospects and draft picks, plus Arron Afflalo. Sure, he should be dinged for Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic not developing as fast as hoped for, but should Vaughn really be on the hook for the team's dismal performance?
The firing comes with a couple of interesting notes attached. Vaughn is the first member of the vaunted Gregg Popovich Coaching Tree to be fired, his failure thrown into sharp relief as 500 miles up I-75 fellow Popovich acolyte Mike Budenholzer is working wonders with the Atlanta Hawks. Though with Monty Williams consistently okay in New Orleans and the verdict still out on Brett Brown in Philadelphia, it isn't clear that Popovich's coaching tree should be vaunted just yet.
The firing also made clear that the Magic are running an incredibly leaky shop. Reports about Vaughn's future have been leaking for months, and reporters began getting this news an hour before players:
Considering that players are on Twitter just like the rest of us, it is safe to assume that most learned of their coach's firing well before the 1 p.m. meeting. It is becoming increasingly common—it happened when the Warriors fired Mark Jackson and when the Kings fired Mike Malone—to see reporters basically live tweet the meeting where team executives do the firing, so it is no surprise to see Woj had the name of the interim coach and the likely future coach, 25 minutes before the players were even officially told their coach is gone.
To the Magic's credit, at least their timing is good!
Photo via Christian Petersen/Getty