Jamahl Mosley, Orlando Magic begin to tie things together

The Orlando Magic are getting set to hire Jamahl Mosley as their next head coach. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
The Orlando Magic are getting set to hire Jamahl Mosley as their next head coach. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

The first glimpses Orlando Magic fans got of new coach Jamahl Mosley was a brief vignette of him working on the court with Mohamed Bamba shortly after he was hired.

The video, posted to the Orlando Magic’s Twitter page, showed Mosley on the floor defending Bamba as he posted up, giving him encouragement as he works through the drill.

This is Mosley in his natural element. He was a player development coach in his previous stops. His job was a lot of getting on the floor and working players through their paces, giving them encouragement and points all at the same time.

This is the mantra of an assistant coach though. The guy in the lead chair sets the tone for the whole organization — the strategy, the messaging and how things are run. That is an entirely different animal and a much more difficult challenge.

The biggest question is how Mosley will maintain his player development mentality and willingness to work on the court with the challenges and responsibilities that come with being a head coach.

Jamahl Mosley began laying his foundations for the Orlando Magic as the team began practice and preparations for Summer League next week.

Mosley began answering those questions Thursday with the team conducting its first practice ahead of the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. It was a day of firsts for a lot of people — the coach and the team’s two rookies first and foremost — but everyone is starting from the ground level.

This is Mosley laying the foundations for his team and the way he wants them to play.

"“Laying the foundation for the team we want to be,” Mosley said of the team’s first day of practice. “I keep going back to us growing together and laying the foundation for being a tough, talking, tied-together defensive team and a team offensively that plays with pace, space and the pass. I think laying that foundation early will be the key for us.”"

Mosley’s coach-isms are already becoming apparent. He used the line about “pace, space and the pass” during his introductory press conference.  Only time will tell how this translates directly into performance on the court.

His defensive philosophy, at least publicly to this point, has emphasized communication as a means to tie the team together. He wants his team to have these characteristics as a base for everything else to grow. It seems Mosley is focused on working on the foundations for his team before going anywhere else.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

This is still a feeling-out process for both coach and team. Rookie forward Franz Wagner said Jamahl Mosley is supportive off the court and has been bringing energy to the team while on the court. That sounds like exactly what he was advertised to do.

Mosley said he liked the energy on his first day of practice. He said he felt the guys were pushing each other and buying into the emphasis he has put on team communication.

The Magic are in a unique position too with two rookies and two second-year players participating in this year’s Summer League. Four rotation players will be playing and getting this foundation early.

So too will Mohamed Bamba, who practiced with the team Thursday and is set to continue working out with the team leading into the team’s first game Monday.

Mosley is trying to begin to tie his team together and find his footing as the head coach — although he has had experience coaching a Summer League team before. He is trying to focus on the foundations right now.

"“The one thing I’ve tried to say to them and the whole team as we go forward is to dominate the simple,” Mosley said after practice Thursday. “Keep it simple. The more we can keep it simple, the better they will be so they don’t just get thrown a whirlwind. The easier I can keep it in terminology to the things we’re doing, the better they can be so they aren’t thinking and they are just playing off their instincts and reaction.”"

That foundation is clearly getting established. It starts too with the staff that is surely in place but yet to be announced.

Previous reports had several names connected to the Magic — all with strong player development backgrounds — but those reports appear to have fallen through or were not entirely accurate.

Josh Robbins of The Athletic reports that only Dale Osbourne from that original reported list will join the staff. The other members of the staff will be former Raptors 905 coach and former Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jess Mermuys, Long Island Nets coach Bret Brielmaier and recently retired player Lionel Chalmers.

That goes along with the already confirmed hire of Nate Tibbetts. The Magic are again keeping their coaching focus on finding a staff with a player development background.

This week and this time at Summer League is truly all about Mosley laying the foundation for his program and tying the team together for the beginning of camp in September.

That is where stories like the one about Jalen Suggs from practice seems to really resonate.

During the interview after practice, Robbins noted he saw Suggs doing push-ups off to the side. Mosley explained it was a penance Suggs imposed on himself for a mistake he made during the practice. It is the kind of accountability he wants to see from his young players. And he felt the team supported and encouraged him to bounce back.

The team spent most of its first day laying in basic defensive sets and terminology. The team is trying not to overload everyone at this point. But that foundation has to start.

There is obviously a lot to learn for a rookie. Suggs is just getting started. And for everyone it was about getting back onto the floor after such a long layoff — both Suggs and Wagner said they had not been in an organized setting since the NCAA season ended.

"“I think I can learn a ton,” Suggs said after practice Thursday. “I’m looking for knowledge, I’m searching for knowledge when I’m out here. I’m asking coach a lot of questions. I’m talking to Cole, R.J. and Mo, gues who have been here already. Just gaining knowledge and getting as comfortable as I can so that when we get to running, I can teach other guys.”"

That is what this week in Vegas will be all about. The team will be focused on learning as much as it can and growing as much as it can as these foundations get laid.

Next. Orlando Magic roster near complete with one gaping hole. dark

Mosley is doing that work too as he tries to get his team where he wants them. So they are going to focus on the basics and simple things to start with. And then grow from there.