Having continuity from the top of the roster to the bottom is important in the NBA. The best teams year-in and year-out tend to return not only the majority of their roster, but also the coaching staff.
Teams toward the bottom of the league sometimes struggle to build that continuity, most notably with their coaching staff. Growth is hard to come by when there is a rotating cast of figures on and off the court.
For the Orlando Magic, the 2023 season will be one that could shape the next 5-10 years for the franchise.
The team felt strongly about the progress its young players made even following a 22-win season. And the top pick in the draft is in two. Orlando feels like it can make a big step forward.
But instead of dramatically shifting the roster, Paolo Banchero (the top pick in the draft) was the most significant move.
The team is hoping that stability will foster growth in a significant way. They are hoping stability will help the team continue to grow within the culture and organization they have built over the last year.
They are hoping continuity is their strength as they plan what comes next for the team.
The Orlando Magic again did not make many changes to their roster during the offseason. Once again, the team is banking on continuity to help foster growth and keep the team growing.
Having brought back seemingly their entire roster from last season — 11 of the top 12 in minutes per game return from last season — the Magic are armed with not only a team that is clearly tight-knit, but also one that has familiarity together.
For a team chalked full of young players, having that continuity can go a long way in helping not only individual players take a big leap, but the team as a whole take a big step forward as well.
Add in the fact that the Magic, who are on their sixth head coach in the last 11 years, have Jamahl Mosley returning for his second season at the helm, and things could be looking up in a big way for the Magic.
Having the same voice leading a young team is huge. Player development depends not only on the work that the player puts in, but also the work the coaching staff puts in with them.
Having the same staff who knows and understands tendencies and player strengths and weaknesses can help young players take that next big step.
Bringing back the same veterans they had last season — something the franchise did not do early on in their post-Dwight Howard rebuild — gives the young nucleus even more continuity. They know what those veterans are expecting out of them, and the veterans know what those younger players can do on and off the court to continue to push their growth forward.
When looking at the teams who made the playoffs last season, two things stick out.
All 16 teams either have cores who have been together for multiple seasons like the Milwaukee Bucks, have a coach that has been with the franchise for multiple years like the Miami Heat or bring both to the table like the champion Golden State Warriors.
Those teams also possess a balance across the roster with young players and veterans who push the young players forward and continually help with their development.
As our Philip Rossman-Reich wrote the Magic are getting the band back together, but he cautioned some on it as well.
"Stability for stability’s sake does not always work.But at this beginning stage when the team is still laying its foundations, stability can be helpful. It can help players define their roles and continue to grow.Orlando is betting on that. The team is betting on the good vibes continuing and for its growth to continue. It is betting on what it has done continuing to work."
As Philip noted, just bringing back the same guys for stability is not always the best decision. But with a team that is as tight-knit as this group is, it might be worth it.
Seemingly the entire team was spotted out in Las Vegas for the NBA’s Summer League together to support their newest teammates. Showing that kind of support for the newcomers is something the best teams do. And it only begins to grow that continuity and show just how tight-knit they are.
It shows how invested everyone is in the project. Getting Mo Bamba and Gary Harris to re-sign with the team shows their faith in the group and what they are building. Now it is up to them to see it through.
This will likely be a big season for the franchise as a whole.
After adding Banchero with the first pick in June’s draft, Orlando might have found the one starring piece they have been desperately been searching for. If Banchero works out and fits in with the rest of Orlando’s returning core, then the team could be looking at a successful season.
Their success this season will come down to the continuity and camaraderie that they have already built, with the addition of Banchero potentially the icing on top of the cake.