With training camps opening around the NBA on Monday, the Internet will begin rolling out its previews for each of the NBA teams. The annual NBA Blog Preview organized by Jeff Clark of Celtics Blog kicked off today with the Celtics and Warriors batting lead off.
It is truly that wonderful time of the year.
There will be more to come from the Magic and their Media Day throughout this week. The team will open up practice at Amway Center on Tuesday and the long journey through this season will begin.
So far though, there is a lot of positivity about the Magic even if the prospects for the team's record are not particularly strong. Wins and losses will not be the ultimate judge for this team's success. Not yet. It is still about individual improvement and building the culture the team wants.
It is all that hard work and that goal that is getting the attention and creating converts among the NBA's observers.
Ian Levy of Hickory High grew up a Pacers fan and hating the Magic for instantly becoming a contender with Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee Hardaway (lucking into some great players and finding instant success). But Levy admits he is beginning to like what the Magic are building because it is coming through the growth and hard work of a gritty roster:
Legacy, physical gifts, style, construction; this year’s Magic roster couldn’t be further from the one who originally squirted lemon juice in my milk. There is no one on this roster for whom success flows naturally from thought to action. Every piece, from Head Coach Jacque Vaughn down to Romero Osby at the end of the bench, is here because they have clawed, scratched and fought to squeeze every bit of production out of the rock that is their potential. They are a team that is altogether and decidedly un-shiny.
It seemed like all anyone who covered the Magic was talking about this summer was how the young players like Maurice Harkless, Tobias Harris and Andrew Nicholson were working out and growing together in Orlando.
It is also fair to point out, as someone did Monday night, there is only one lottery pick on the roster — Victor Oladipo.
This is a team that has truly had nothing handed to them. Every player has had to work for their spot in the NBA and to prove that they belong. Some are still very much in the process of doing that.
This seems to be the kind of ethos and the kind of player the Magic are looking to bring in. It sounds like a great way for the team to build its foundation as the team continues to build and grow.