By John Denton
GM Rob Hennigan and head coach Jacque Vaughn, much like thousands of Orlando Magic fans, can close their eyes and dream about a promising future when the team’s new ``core four’’ of Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless and Victor Oladipo hit the primes of their careers.
Among that young, but talented group, they see a 7-foot rebounding machine in Vucevic; an all-business scorer capable of piling up points in bunches in Harris; a Swiss Army knife-type of forward in Harkless; and a player in Oladipo who just might be a future star at point guard and/or shooting guard.
The rub, of course, is that it is a vision for the future and not necessarily the present day. As for the here and now, there’s no getting around the fact that Vucevic is just 22, Harris is only 21, Harkless is but 20 and Oladipo will be a NBA rookie for the next six months. Clearly, there are still plenty of growing pains to come and many of those players are just making the turn along the NBA’s learning curve.
Still, there is great promise there with a group that has already shown Magic fans – and the franchise’s leadership team of Hennigan and Vaughn – plenty flashes of greatness. Whereas most teams battling through transition seasons lack promise, hope and are mostly devoid of talent, there’s a near consensus throughout the NBA that much brighter days are dead ahead for the rapidly improving Magic.
``Certainly, we feel like those guys are going to get better and about them wanting to become really good players,’’ said Hennigan in his usually humble and reserved manner. ``It’s incumbent on us as an organization to have the infrastructure in place to allow them to do that. I’m excited about their futures.’’