Denton's Notebook: Monday, Oct. 15

By John Denton
October 15, 2012

CINCINNATI – It’s not uncommon for NBA coaches to form somewhat of a mutual admiration society whether it’s praising the other’s X-and-O acumen or the ability to motivate players.

But the respect between Orlando’s Jacque Vaughn and Cleveland’s Byron Scott goes much deeper just the coaching level even the two barely know one another on a personal level.

Scott, 51, grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood, Calif., while Vaughn, 37, hails from nearby Pasadena, Calif. Vaughn admitted Scott as a player with the Lakers where he won three NBA titles (1985, ‘87 and ‘88).

``Byron was on those Lakers teams that I watched and I probably could name every individual on those teams,’’ said Vaughn, who wore No. 42 in his prep career in honor of former Laker, James Worthy. ``My first autograph as a young man was waiting outside the Fabulous Forum and Magic Johnson gave me my first autograph. So I was a huge Los Angeles Lakers fan, Byron Scott included.’’

Scott said that he has heard high praise about Vaughn from his friend, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Vaughn, who played in NBA for 12 seasons, worked for the Spurs the last two years to prep for his first head coaching gig.

``I have a lot of respect for Jacque because I’ve heard a lot about him while he was working in the Spurs organization with (Popovich),’’ Scott said. ``I think he’s going to be an excellent head coach because he seems to be one of those young men who has done his homework and paid his dues. So I expect him to do well.’’

J.J. DOES HIS HOMEWORK: Because Magic shooting guard J.J. Redick is a fine food connoisseur, for years he’s kept an elaborate list of the best restaurants in each NBA city so he can reference it when the team hits the road.

But trips to non-NBA cities such as Mexico City and Cincinnati this preseason has caused Redick to do his homework to learn more about the places where the Magic have played. Redick said he enjoys the trips to cities he wouldn’t usually frequent during the season because it allows him to branch out from his usual favorites.

``I enjoy coming to these places, I honestly do,’’ Redick said. ``A couple of years ago we went to Wichita, Kan., and it was my first time ever in Kansas. This is my first time in the great city of Cincinnati. I did some Google searching and really buffed up on my Cincinnati history. Did you know at one point in time that Cincinnati was known as, `The Paris of America?’ There is a neighborhood in the cultural center with art shops that would rival anything you would see in Soho (New York).’’

AFFLALO OUT AGAIN: Magic shooting guard Arron Afflalo did not make the two-game trip to Cincinnati and Detroit so that he could remain in Orlando and continue rehabilitating his strained left hamstring.

Afflalo, whom the Magic acquired from Denver in August, injured the leg last month and said he ``tweaked’’ it again during the third practice of training camp. Afflalo has had trouble with hamstring pain and fatigue for the past two seasons and he’s trying to avoid a similar scenario happening his first season in Orlando.

Vaughn said he fully onboard with Afflalo resting the leg, even if it means him missing most of the preseason. Afflalo didn’t play last week in Mexico City or in last Thursday’s home opener, and likely won’t return until next week.

``(Head athletic trainer) Keon (Wise) check in every day about injured players and I’ve stressed to him my message about being cautious,’’ Vaughn said. ``We’re not going to rush (Afflalo) back because to me that doesn’t make sense. I want guys to be comfortable while they are playing and I’ll always be overly cautious (with injuries).’’

ETC: Vaughn said he’s been especially pleased so far with the play and focus of veteran forward Hedo Turkoglu. Said Vaughn: ``I’ve been extremely pleased with Hedo. He’s really giving effort, he’s been very attentive and he’s played well. He’s done a lot of good things. Last game I experimented with him at (power forward) and he’s a guy who can handle the basketball and make plays. He just knows how to play the game of basketball.’’ … Redick likes the new offense that the Magic are running, one that is often free from a coach’s play calls or restrictions. Redick likes the read-and-react style the Magic have adopted so far. ``There’s always a fine line between freedom and taking direction. Jacque said this morning that we’ll have more plays going forward, but for now he just wants us to work on our split action, which is just a basic set, and making reads out of it,’’ Redick said. ``Hopefully the more we run it, the better we’ll be at making those reads.’’ … Scott said he feels that coaches like himself and Vaughn who played in the NBA have an advantage in relating to players. Said Scott: ``I think (there is an advantage), but I’m sure the guys who aren’t former players say it doesn’t have anything to do with it. But being a former player I do think it gives more credence to what you are talking about to these players today, especially if you’ve been a former player who has had some success in the NBA.’’ … The Magic play the Detroit Pistons in Auburn Hills, Mich. Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. There is no television of the game in the Central Florida area.

John Denton writes for John has covered the Magic since 1997. E-mail John at or follow him on Twitter at @JohnDenton555.

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