Orlando Magic’s message is accountability for returning roster

Orlando Magic coach Jamahl Mosley helped build the team's foundation. But there is still work to do in what should be a busy summer. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Orlando Magic coach Jamahl Mosley helped build the team's foundation. But there is still work to do in what should be a busy summer. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

It is a different offseason for the Orlando Magic.

Jamahl Mosley is entering his second season as head coach. Everyone seems a bit more comfortable with what the team is trying to do and the expectations.

The Magic brought back virtually the same roster as their 22-60 effort last year. That normally would not be a cause for celebration. But with Paolo Banchero added to the mix, a fully healthy offseason for Markelle Fultz and general improvement from young players throughout the season, the Magic are excited and optimistic for the season to come.

The group is not putting any firm expectations though. You will not hear talks of playoffs or a win total for this season. It is still going to be a process of learning and improving this year.

But Mosley has challenged his team to “level up” this season. That was the mission from the end of last season as the team split after defeating the Miami Heat in the season finale.

The Orlando Magic have big aims this year as the young roster continues to grow. Jamahl Mosley has clear ideas of where this team needs to grow to learn to win.

Everyone has spent the offseason trying to figure out what that means. And it has all been theoretical to this point.

On an episode of Orlando Magic Pod Squad, Mosley dove in a bit more to what is behind this philosophy. And, perhaps more importantly, what is in store for this season.

This is a season where everyone is expected to be more on the ball.

"“It’s going to be a little bit easier when you see the same group of men that have been with you since last year,” Mosley said on the podcast. “That’s why we keep using the term compete and leveling up. Now I won’t have to say the same thing three times because you heard it all last year. And so now, we’re not reinventing the wheel. All the things that we did last year, there were some very good parts in that process where guys grew and got better. But now is it are you really grasping it and I can hold you to a different standard.”"

This is at the heart of Mosley’s “leveling up” mission. There is an expectation that players will know what is going on and be able to hold themselves and each other accountable.

What Mosley hopes to see is the team not making the same mistakes over and over again. That is part of the growing up process. For Mosley it is his team understanding what is being asked, competing harder, understanding the details more and putting themselves in a position to win more.

All that seems pretty generic. As a young coach, Mosley still seems to speak in generalities.

That is to be expected when a team is trying to temper expectations.

But the Magic’s approach this season should be that simple. It bears repeating over and over again, the Magic just need to improve and get better. It is not going to be anything more complex than that.

And that starts with digging into the details and being more competitive on a night-in and night-out basis.

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If Orlando wants to win more, Mosley is right that the team cannot repeat mistakes over and over again. The team has to be better about reducing mistakes from the get-go and learning from them on the fly.

And that is part of growing up just as it is part of winning more.

Mosley said last year was about evaluations and learning what players on the team could and could not do. That is indeed how it felt for the team and likely the right way for the team to handle its young roster.

That is why the Magic felt positive about the season they had even with the poor record they had.

Now the team is turning toward competing on a more regular basis and taking measurable steps forward.

Mosley repeated that he does not intend to skip steps with this team. When he was asked about the potential for this team, he slowed himself from getting too excited. He knows firsthand how much injuries can change a lot of things. The regular season can be about survival as much as anything else.

But there is undoubtedly a desire to see the team get better. And that is going to be the central theme for the Magic this season and especially through training camp.

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Orlando wants to see better accountability. The team wants to hold itself to a higher standard. And that is where everything will start this year.