Orlando Magic built defensive foundation, but saw concerning slips

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Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic
With teams needing to get back into rhythm, Terrence Ross and the Orlando Magic will have to rely on their depth. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Turnover Rate

2020 NBA Median 2019 NBA Median
Full Season 12.9 14.5 13.3 13.9
Pre-All-Star Break 12.9 14.5 13.6 13.9
Post-All-Star Break 13.0 14.4 12.6 13.4
NBA Campus 14.3 14.4
Playoffs 13.9 14.0 16.3 14.1

A central tenet of Steve Clifford’s defenses is to limit turnovers and limit transition opportunities.

One area where the Magic were frankly elite and among the very best teams in the league is in turnover rate. The Magic simply did not turn the ball over.

The promise from Jeff Weltman that Steve Clifford teams do not beat themselves proved to be completely true.

This could be a small area of weakness as the Magic do not have many players who will force action. Their offense is about positioning and creating space through pick and rolls. there is not a lot of isolation play going on.

But the trade-off is the team limits fast breaks. And that is where Orlando was also elite — the team gave up 11.9 fast-break points per game, the fourth-fewest in the league.

So the Magic have created that as something of an identity. It is a core part of who this team is. They are regimented and disciplined in their sets and they do not make mistakes.

If the Magic can keep this aspect of their offense as they add shooting and improve their playmaking, then they could be a really tough team to beat. The hints of a decent offense are there if they keep their turnovers low.

And that will undoubtedly help their defense. The more this team gets itself set, the harder it will be to beat. Clifford is always going to make sure of that.