Orlando Magic Daily Mailbag Volume 41: Glimpses into the future

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Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic
Cole Anthony is perhaps the most offensive-focused player Jeff Weltman has acquired for the Orlando Magic.(Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) /

From John Poulsen via Facebook

"They added some shooting with the drafting of Anthony this year. Do you expect the magic to address shooting more so this summer than last summer?"

The biggest thing I have been thinking about during this eight-game losing streak is how do the Orlando Magic expand their margin for error.

This team, it feels, has to be pieced together perfectly in order to compete at the highest levels. Their best players all have major flaws and they all seem to be the same thing — the lack of shooting.

There is so much proof around the league that shooting lowers the margin for error. Teams with advanced offensive execution — and probably a guy who can create his own shot and the willingness to create for others with all that attention — can beat even good defensive teams.

In the NBA, a good offense ultimately beats a good defense.

The other thing I have been thinking about is a line Steve Clifford has said several times in postgame press conferences.

The notion is this: The Magic’s problem is not executing, he would say. The team runs through its sets effectively. The issue becomes where do the Magic go when it is time to make a play. When the play breaks down, how does this team get a shot?

This is the essence of the Magic’s “playoff problem.”

In the playoffs, teams hone in on everything you do. The famous playoff books have every play and tendency written down. The playoffs are about beating that knowledge nonetheless.

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Shooting makes it easy. Defenses cannot leave anyone if they have to worry about a kick out to a shooter. This makes everyone better.

Orlando was fine to focus on defense and build that as the team’s backbone. The Magic have done well to build a culture centered on defense as a way to become competitive on a base level.

The team is there. Even during this losing streak with so many players out, the Magic are defending decently well. Clifford will make sure of that.

So the focus for the team now needs to be correcting in the other direction. Orlando should make a bit of a gamble and focus almost exclusively on adding shooters. So long as those players show competitiveness to get after it defensively, Clifford will get the most out of them.

But the team fell apart this year because all of their reserve players were defensive specialists. When they lost starters, they lost their offensive push completely. Who knows how bad this team would be if it lost its offensive crux in Nikola Vucevic.

Even when fully healthy, the Magic were scratching and clawing to be in the top half of the league. That is the part that needs to change. The Magic have to have some faith their defensive culture is good enough to teach non-defensive players “their way.”

Adding shooting and guys who just know how to get the ball in the bucket is very clearly the next step for this team.

Add that to a team with a top-5 pick and an All-Star in his prime in Nikola Vucevic, the Magic have the beginnings of something. They just need the support to grow and become a more balanced team.

Orlando Magic need to build from Lakeland's success. dark. Next

Thanks to everyone for your mailbag questions. We will have a lot more to say before the trade deadline and the rest of the season. Be on the lookout for our next mailbag likely toward the end of the season. Until then, you can always get in touch with us on Twitter @omagicdaily and by e-mail at omagicdaily@gmail.com.