Lessons and trends the Orlando Magic must learn from the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers

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Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Rajon Rondo
Jimmy Butler nearly carried the Miami Heat to a NBA title over the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic watched the NBA Playoffs and NBA Finals and no doubt learned some lessons on how they need to build their team to copy and compete.

The Larry O’Brien Trophy is on its way back to Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Lakers entered the season as favorites to win the title and overcame a ton of emotional adversity — from trying to come together as a new team scrambling to fill out their roster to the tragic death of Kobe Bryant to trying to come back together following the pandemic hiatus — to win the title. Even if a title seems inevitable, the journey to win one is always fraught with challenges.

Every champion has a lot to push through to get to the top of the mountain. They have to find their own way to do it.

The NBA, it is often said, is a copycat league. Everyone watches what the successful teams are doing and tries to copy them. The league essentially has scouts going around watching plays that other teams are using and copying them for their own teams. Coaches constantly steal plays from each other.

Each champion and each successful team in the NBA leaves its mark. They change the direction the league heads in. Especially as the league tries to figure out how to counter the teams that work best.

The Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers were two very different teams.

The Lakers built their team to orbit around two superstars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. That is certainly one of the lessons. But they also were a devastating defensive team that could be versatile and play any style. Coach Frank Vogel deserves a lot of credit for being nimble enough to adjust to smaller lineups while still maintaining their defensive mastery.

The Heat built their team around ball movement and toughness. Jimmy Butler was the perfect star to tie everything together, but the team had players in constant motion to spread the defense out, allowing players to attack the basket or kick out to 3-point shooters.

A healthy Miami Heat team very well could have scored the ultimate upset, becoming the lowest-seeded team to win a title since the Houston Rockets in 1995.

Everyone around the league was surely watching. And as they examine how to make themselves better, they are going to try to take lessons from what made the Lakers successful.

They changed the league, reintroducing two-big lineups and a more defensive-minded approach. How much they changed the league will be determined by next year’s champion.

There are still plenty of lessons to learn.