Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Magic's Vaughn efficient in 1st practice of season
ORLANDO, Fla. -- If there's one thing that the Orlando Magic players learned during their first preseason practice, it's that new coach Jacque Vaughn will run his workouts efficiently.
The Magic wrapped up their initial, two-hour scheduled workout in 90 minutes Tuesday.
They took one water break and were moved in and out of drills by assistant coaches with little lag time.
Afterwards, the new man in charge said it went exactly how he drew it up. So much so that it made Vaughn think of something former Utah Jazz teammate John Stockton used to say about practice.
"Stockton used to tell me, `Work me hard, but don't work me long. Work me long, but don't work me hard. You have to pick one.' I never forgot that," Vaughn said.
Also on his mind was how Roy Williams, his former college coach at Kansas, ran his daily show.
"He was the most efficient coach I've been around," Vaughn said. "His practice plans were pretty much to the minute and I've taken that. It was a good session as far as efficiency today."
The reasoning behind Vaughn's early practice plans isn't all based on drawing from his mentors, though.
A bigger one is simply necessity.
The Magic are down three bodies right now as they begin the task of jelling together a team of seven returners and seven fresh faces.
Rookie Maurice Harkless, a first-round draft pick by Philadelphia who was acquired in the Dwight Howard trade, had offseason surgery for a sports hernia.
Also, backup point guard Ish Smith is recovering from surgery for a torn labrum in his shoulder. And forward Al Harrington, another trade acquisition, is coming off knee surgery,
Both Smith and Harkless are out until at least mid-November.
Harrington is expected to miss at least part of camp.
Still, a pair of the Magic's veterans said they liked what they saw overall out of the new-look Magic in their first true time together on the court.
Point guard Jameer Nelson said Vaughn -- a former point guard himself -- stressed that he didn't want to be a coach that dictated every single play call. That was refreshing to Nelson, who has thrived best when he's able to create on the fly while on the court.
"What we're gonna be doing is playing basketball and he's gonna give us a lot of freedom," Nelson said. "As much as this may sound bad, you don't want to think out there. You want to be as free as you can. ... If you can eliminate one thing, it helps you out and you can go do it."
The Magic have just four practice days before heading to Mexico City for their preseason opener Sunday against New Orleans.
J.J. Redick, who is expected to compete with Arron Afflalo at the shooting guard spot, said he isn't worried about what will be a loaded workout schedule this week.
"I think it's the way the NBA works," Redick said. "You spend so much time together, you practice so much in October and play all these preseason games. It might take a while, but our chemistry is gonna be fine.
"We just have to be really well at communicating. We're all learning new terms and learning new stuff. So communication is gonna be big."
Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower.