When the season started, Orlando Magic head coach Frank Vogel appeared to be lost on what to do with the number of big men he had on the roster. Serge Ibaka was added to their fold along with Bismack Biyombo, which created a logjam in their frontcourt. Given the situation, he was forced to play Aaron Gordon at the small forward position despite sacrificing shooting and speed.
However, now that they have traded Ibaka, it has paved the way for Gordon to once again play at his natural power forward position. Vogel even conceded via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel that the Magic are better off with him at the four spot, which proved just that after they won against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.
“Everybody’s now in their right position, quite frankly. I think Aaron being a four is better for him. He did well at the three defensively, but he’s better at the four.”
“Speed is beating size league-wide right now. What you saw (against the Hawks) with Aaron – it was an example of that. He was able to beat his man off the bounce – not just in regular close-out situations but being a screener and getting the ball as the roller in pick-and-rolls.
Vogel also praised the 21-year-old Arizona product by discussing what he did well on during the game. He went on to add what he believes can play to his advantage moving forward.
“He made some great, great plays. He’s getting the ball now with space and no one between him and the basket, whereas when he was playing on the perimeter, they were backing up and there was a body in front of him at all times.”
Gordon echoed his coach’s statement by saying he thinks they are quicker now and that he can contribute more with their new rotation.
“The floor’s more spaced. I feel like we’re quicker. There’s a lot more room to operate on the offensive end.”
Their chances of making it to the postseason may be slim, as they are seven games back of the last playoff spot, but if they can string a few wins together, they’ll be able to finish the campaign strong and build on that success next year.