Last season, Evan Fournier was arguably the leader of the Orlando Magic. He wasn’t prepared to fill that role but he grew in to it as the season progressed. This year the Magic could look at Jonathon Simmons to lead the way.
This upcoming season the Orlando Magic have options.
Might this be the year center Nikola Vucevic or guard Elfrid Payton truly step into the lime light of leadership? Or might fan favorite Aaron Gordon improve from last season’s play and establish this Orlando Magic team as his own?
Enter the names Jonathon Simmons and Shelvin Mack into the leader equation. Both are newcomers to the team this season and could provide a spark from a leader perspective. Of the two, Shelvin Mack is most leader ready. He has been on multiple winning teams. He has seen what it takes for a team to go from lottery bound to playoff sensation. The former situation becoming too familiar in Orlando. Simmons has had the privilege of learning his NBA habits from one of the leagues best players in Kawhi Leonard and future hall-of-fame coach, Greg Popovich.
After much thought and analysis, Simmons is the best man for the job.
After watching Jonathon Simmons play last season and throughout the playoffs, he could emerge as a quiet by nature but lead by example type of leader.
The argument can be made that Bismack Biyombo was expected to do more or less of the same when he was acquired last summer but to a certain degree, hardly anyone expected him to be anything more than a defensive presence.
Listening to Simmons speak and watching him work out this summer, he appears primed to turn the corner in development.
He may not be a 20 point per game scorer this upcoming season but he will be the guy to challenge his team mates to perform better — on and off the court. He will accept the challenge of guarding the best opposing wing player night in and night out this season right alongside forward Aaron Gordon.
Head coach Frank Vogel played stout defense with the Indiana Pacers. That concept will be adopted by the Magic heading into his second season with the team. But it all started with one guy who could play tough individual man defense.
The Orlando Magic will surely make playing defense the focal point in Orlando this season and Simmons is a guy who could fit in any lineup the Magic need him regardless of style of play.
Could he be the guy Orlando needs as a face of the franchise, who knows? Only time will truly tell. From the surface it’s clear that Simmons is hungry and ready to accept a larger role. It’s time the Magic roll the dice and see who they can be with Simmons as the leader.