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Head coach Frank Vogel, second from left, and Orlando Magic players, from left, Bismack Biyombo, Nikola Vucevic, and Serge Ibaka (7) joke around before a photo during the team's NBA basketball media day, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Orlando Magic Media Day Wrap-up

AP Photo/John Raoux

On Monday, September 26, the Orlando Magic hosted Media Day. There is significant optimism and excitement for this season. In addition, for the first time in several years, the team has playoff expectations as well. Below is a collection of quotes and observations from Media Day.

Head Coach Frank Vogel

  • On his expectations for the season:
    • “We expect to make the playoffs. We should have a very good defense. We’re all chasing the champs in Cleveland, but the Eastern Conference is wide open. We’ll be in that mix.”
  • On the lack of a go-to player on offense:
    • “Our go-to player will be whoever is open. Our team will share the ball, and we should be able to get good shots no matter who is in there.”
  • On the style of offense the Magic will play this year:
    • “We’re going to get out and run. That is the right way to play basketball and makes for easy offense. We’ll play a combo of smash mouth basketball and spread basketball. But we do want to run.”
  • On if it matters who starts games between Nikola Vucevic and Bismack Biyombo:
    • “No, it does not. They’ll both be asked to be two-way players. Vuc (Vucevic) will improve on defense. Biyombo will help on offense. They’ll fit well together.”
  • On the mix of veterans and young players:
    • “The veterans should help the young players. They bring playoff experience, and that should help our team grow.”

Bismack Biyombo

  • On the defense:
    • “I expect we’ll be very good. Not top 10, but top 5. We’ll need to build chemistry, but we’ll need to be very good on defense.”
  • On if it matters if he starts or comes off the bench:
    • “It doesn’t matter to me if I start or not. I just want to play. I want to contribute. I want to be a part of what we build here. Winning will take care of everything.”
  • On his expectations for the season:
    • “The goal is the playoffs. We are going to the playoffs. We’re going to win a lot of games. Losing doesn’t help you enjoy the season. Winning takes care of everything, and we’ll get it done.”
  • On the season in general and all the new faces:
    • “We have great guys here. I love all the guys. First thing I did was get their numbers and introduce myself. I can’t wait to get to work. It will be a fun season.”

Nikola Vucevic

  • On if it matters if he starts or not:
    • “It does. I want to start. I believe I have the quality to start. If the team wasn’t losing last year, I would have been an All-Star. Players always want to start, and that is the goal. So, yes, I want to start.”
  • On the importance of being the longest tenured member of the Magic:
    • “It is important to me. I’ve been here since the Dwight deal. I want to be here. It is important to me to be the leader of this team. I embrace the leadership role.”
  • On his expectations for the season:
    • “The playoffs. The entire team is focused on that goal. We have the talent to get there, and we should make it.”
  • On playing for the Montenegro National Team:
    • “It was very important to me. I haven’t been able to play in a while, so it was important to get back. We had a great summer and qualified for EuroBasket. I can’t wait to play again next summer. It is important because you play for your country, your family, your friends and your fans. And you do it because you want to.”

General Manager Rob Hennigan

  • On the excitement level and expectations for this year:
    • “This is the most excitement we’ve had since I’ve been here. From the interactions I’ve had with the fans, they are very excited. We have high expectations for the season and think we’ll have a good year.”
  • On if making the playoffs is the goal:
    • “ Yes. That is always the goal. This year we should have the veteran depth to help up make the playoffs. We should have a great defense and that should help too.”
  • On having enough shooting:
    • “You can never have enough shooting. But I think we did well to add shooting this offseason. Also, our guys are going to improve as shooters. We’ll monitor it throughout the year, but we have enough now.”
  • On Serge Ibaka and signing him long term:
    • “We traded for Serge to be a part of the team for a long time. We’ll see how it goes, but that is our expectation is for him to be here for a long time.”
  • On protests of the National Anthem:
    • “We’ll have open communication with the players. It is important that they speak their minds, but whatever we do we’ll do it as a team.”

Jeff Green

  • On what he brings to the Magic:
    • “Veteran presence, playoff experience. Also versatility. I can do a lot of things, and I can help this team.”
  • On bouncing around the league the last few years and making Orlando home:
    • “That is the goal. I want to be here in Orlando. Not just this year, but long term.”
  • On what Kevin Garnett meant to him:
    • “(long pause and sigh) So much. He meant so much to me. On and off the court. He taught me a lot of things about defense. He taught me so much about how to practice and prepare. About how to work. On the court, in the weight room, how you eat and take care of yourself. And his intensity, whoa boy. (laughter) He brought it every single day to practice and games. He meant so much to me in my career.”
  • On his expectations for the season:
    • “We should be a playoff team. I’m used to being on playoff teams. Not just playoff teams, but places where championships were the expectations. We have the talent and guys, so we should make the playoffs here.

C.J. Wilcox

  • On having familiar faces from the Clippers on the team:
    • “It helps a lot. But we have so many new guys, so that helps too. I’m excited to be a part of what we have here.”
  • On his recovery from offseason wrist surgery:
    • “I just got cleared. So, I’m full go for the start of camp tomorrow. No issues at all and I’m excited to get to work.”

Evan Fournier

  • On the importance of staying in Orlando vs. getting all the money he could:
    • “Yes definitely. I don’t want to say a pay cut. It’s still a lot of money. But I did not even look at offer sheets or consider anywhere else. Since day one I’ve said it: I feel good here. There is no reason for me to leave. The front office showed me confidence. I’m a loyal guy, and this is how we do business.”
  • On playing shooting guard full time:
    • “I’m excited. It is my natural position. I like playing the 2. I like having the ball in my hand.”
  • On the defense:
    • “We should be great. We can get up and pressure the ball with the shot blockers behind us. That is going to help us a lot.”
  • On his offensive game:
    • “I worked on my mid-range game this summer. I’m pretty good from behind the line and at the basket, but I had to get better in the mid-range game. That is going to help me and the team a lot.”
  • On his expectations for the season:
    • “We should be a playoff team. We added so many new guys. And they are all good players too. Good veterans. We should be a good team.”

Aaron Gordon

  • On playing small forward:
    • “I feel like that is my natural position. I really just want to play. My favorite position is on the floor and not the bench. But I am looking forward to more playmaking responsibility.”
  • On the defense:
    • “I think we’ll be a great defensive team. I think we’ll be the best rebounding team in the league. And on the offensive boards? Watch out. We’re gonna get a ton of offensive rebounds.”
  • We had the chance to see Gordon getting up some jumpers while he waited for a photo shoot. His form looks much better. His elbow is in and under the ball as he shoots vs. flying out.

Mario Hezonja

  • On playing for Croatia in the Olympics:
    • “It was a great experience. I think it helped me a lot to get better. And you always love playing for your country.”
  • On his improvement over the summer:
    • “I worked on everything: offense, defense, just understanding the game. I’m a young guy, but I want to be a player. I just need to keep getting better.”
  • On his expectations for the year:
    • “We added so many good players. I’m just excited to get started tomorrow and get after it.”

Elfrid Payton

  • On the defense:
    • “We should be really good. I think that will help a lot. I can really pressure the ball now with the big guys behind me. I’m looking forward to it.”
  • On Frank Vogel saying they want to push the ball:
    • “I’m excited about that. We have a lot of athletes and can run. It should help us a lot.”
  • On his expectations for the season:
    • “I think we can be really good. We have a lot of new guys and a new coach, so we need to get our chemistry together. But we should be a good team. The playoffs. That is where we need to be.”

Serge Ibaka

  • On being in Orlando with all good/nice guys and no egos:
    • “It is so fun. Nobody has an ego. We just come here and play and want to win. We just do our jobs. I’m excited about it.”
  • On what he said to Bismack Biyombo when he signed:
    • “Welcome to the block party! We’re going to have a block party!”
  • On the defense:
    • “I think we can have the best defense in the league. We have a lot of guys who are very good defensively. We can challenge the ball and protect the rim. I’m excited to play with these guys.”
  • On being a leader:
    • “I welcome the challenge of being the veteran leader for this team. I think I can show them the way back to the playoffs. We have the guys, so we should be able to get there.”
  • On staying in Orlando long term:
    • “Yes. Yes. I’m looking to stay here to play forever. For as many years as possible.”


In general, the players seem excited to get started. With so many new players, it was repeatedly stressed by everyone that building chemistry will be key throughout the preseason. The Magic also believe, to a man, that they will be one of the best defenses in the league this year. They think they have the pieces up and down the roster to make it happen.

With the postseason being the expectation for the first time in a few years in Orlando, it will be interesting to see how the team handles those expectations. Fortunately, everyone is bought in from Rob Hennigan to Frank Vogel to the players. They want to be in Orlando, and they want to build a winner together. Magic fans have a lot of reasons to be excited about a season for the first time in a while.

Orlando Magic Media Day Wrap-up

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