AP Photo/John Raoux
The 30-year-old whippersnapper general manager of the Orlando Magic, Rob Hennigan, was brought in to lead the Orlando Magic brain trust in their attempt to remake the roster through draft picks, not with the usual flashy free agent signings. It’s a track similar to the one navigated by his mentors — Sam Presti in Oklahoma City and R.C. Buford in San Antonio.
There will be no Rashard Lewis signing or other overpriced free agent bluster debuting at Amway Center next year, but that’s fine because the rebuilding process begins with the ability for Hennigan and his staff to identify draft diamonds and facilitate adroit trades, which have brought his tutors in Oklahoma City and San Antonio multiple playoff berths and championships.
That could be the Magic’s future as well, because Hennigan has already proven himself to be an astute judge of talent with his acquisitions over the first year of his tenure.
Hennigan’s transactions thus far have included trading the unhappy Dwight Howard and the expiring contract of J.J. Redick for solid returns on investment, even with a cloud of initial skepticism hovering over the former.
It doesn’t require a stretch of the imagination to believe that he’ll do the same in the 2013 draft, regardless of what the ping pong balls spit out on May 21 when the lottery takes place. Hennigan has earned the trust of the Magic fanbase by the deft way he’s handled this first post-Dwight season despite finishing with the worst record in the league (20-62).
Orlando has got some great, young talent in the frontcourt, a stable of draft picks coming over the next four or five years as part of the Howard trade, and assuming they waive Hedo, they’ll be eight figures under the cap next season. He’s effectively gotten the franchise back to the tabula rasa setting fans have wanted since Dwight first called that awkward press conference with Stan.