5 questions for the Orlando Magic’s offseason
Can the Orlando Magic establish an identity?
From the beginning of the season, coach Jamahl Mosley spoke about the style of play he wanted his team to embody.
They were going to play with space, pace and the pass on offense. They were going to play with toughness, togetherness and talking on defense.
With so little understood about Mosley as a first-time coach, everyone was trying to spend last offseason trying to figure out what all this meant. It was obscure enough that it could truly mean anything. There was nothing to back anything up. It was all a blank slate.
We now have a year with Mosley as head coach. And that blank slate at least has an outline of what the team wants to be.
It certainly took a while for the Magic to find their center and find some consistency. But there are certainly clues to how the Magic want to play.
For this franchise, it all starts on defense. All of the team’s top players are defensive-minded and excel on that end. This is where everything is going to start for the team.
The Magic finished the season 19th in the league in defensive rating at 112.1 points per 100 possessions. The team, despite clearly tanking the final few weeks of the season, finished seventh in defensive rating after the All-Star Break at 111.2 points per 100 possessions.
That is a positive step for a young team. They have something to build on. Although, it is very clear how much work the team has to do.
Improving their offense will help their defense a ton too. And that is the biggest problem the team has.
The Magic were still bad offensively after the All-Star Break — 29th in the league at 104.4 points per 100 possessions. But the team started to carve an identity as a fast-breaking team in the final weeks of the season.
The Magic finished the season 10th in the league in pace at 99.7 possessions per 48 minutes. That is about the only positive thing anyone could say for the team offensively — they did set up franchise records for three-pointers but were also one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league.
Orlando finished the year 23rd in fast-break points per game at 10.8 per game. So the question is just how effective the team’s pace ultimately will end up being.
This is all to say then that Orlando is still seeking its identity. Its defense showed some positive signs. But there is still a long way to go. And the offense does not quite have a distinct style.
There are certainly things for the Magic to build on. But a lot of work to do to get there. And training camp will be starting over again.