Reacting to the trends in the Association is one of the most important aspects for a GM, particularly one of a rebuilding team like Rob Hennigan’s Orlando Magic. In reaction to the game evolving to a perimeter man’s game, Hennigan has done the reasonable: stacked his wing positions with great defenders.
The Magic turn to successful models around the league, and in Chicago the Bulls have attempted to do a similar thing to combat the Miami Heat, in stacking their wings with Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng. Maurice Harkless and Victor Oladipo promise to be that tandem for the Magic, and this season will provide a glimpse at how the duo reacts to one another defensively.
There are debates as to whether Oladipo can make the transition to handling the 1-spot a lot. But even if he doesn’t, Harkless can easily play the 3-spot as he did last season, shifting Tobias Harris to the 4. The Magic have lineup versatility with Oladipo, Harkless and Harris; all three are capable of playing multiple positions.
The Boston Celtics experienced a lot of success with a defensive backcourt of Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee following the injury to superstar Rajon Rondo. Like the Bradley/Lee tandem, the Magic would lack a true playmaker, but Oladipo can handle the ball and making wise decisions will come with time. For Jacque Vaughn to get a Boston-like backcourt effect defensively would be a huge keynote for a Magic team developing an identity. If teams came to fear the Magic’s backcourt defensive presences, the team would develop a new identity in its new era: defensive juggernauts.