Orlando Magic heighten attention to detail on first day of camp

Jalen Suggs and the Orlando Magic have increased their focus on being attentive to detail as training camp opens. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Jalen Suggs and the Orlando Magic have increased their focus on being attentive to detail as training camp opens. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

For many on the Orlando Magic, the players and coaches and staff they are working with are the same. The terminology is largely the same and carrying over from their 2022 season. The approach and the philosophy are much the same.

For everyone though, the whole of practice is different. The whole intensity and focus is different. The Magic have little time to waste and little time to spend correcting mistakes.

They are going to teach, instruct and grow. But they are not going to wait for players who are not locked into the task at hand.

If the Magic were looking for any sign they were serious about being more detail oriented and holding each other accountable, their first practice told a good chunk of that story.

The Orlando Magic opened training camp Tuesday and while the personnel, coaches and terminology were the same, the approach was different as the team looks to hone in on the details and to correct mistakes quicker.

If a group was going through a drill without the right intensity, they would be called off and the next group would come on. If a group was not ready or not understanding what the drill was asking for, they would get replaced. Players struggling with some concept would get pulled off to the side to get caught up to speed.

Everyone was there to help each other. But the message was clear. This team is not going to repeat things. They are only going to move forward.

A lot indeed is the same, but a lot is different for the Magic as they start training camp for the 2023 season. The Magic are bringing a different focus to their preparations early on in camp.

"“It’s a lot faster with these guys to understand,” coach Jamahl Mosley said after Tuesday’s practice. “The one thing we are challenging each one of these guys who was last year is to grab someone who was not here last year or someone who did not play a lot last year to explain what we are doing. We talk about doing it by committee. These guys understand I have to help the man next to me.”"

This is what accountability for the Magic looks like early on in camp. This is what Mosley means when he talks about leveling up. It is each player taking responsibility and being engaged with each part of the team’s preparation.

Mosley said the goal of the first day of camp was to lay the foundation for the team. A lot of it is a carryover from last year and so having virtually the same roster helped the team indeed hit the ground running.

The difference is the level of detail and attention he wants his team to put into each day. That was a message Mosley spoke about throughout the offseason — his vision of the team “leveling up.”

That was in play throughout the first day of camp. Whether it was the team’s practice focus put on a whiteboard inside the AdventHealth Training Facility for all to see as they started their day — much of the focus in the first practice was on defense and transition defense — or the communication in drills from players both on and off the court.

The team was going to be locked in once they stepped on the court.

"“It’s basketball,” Jalen Suggs said after Tuesday’s practice. “The difference is this year is the attention to detail and focus that everybody has. Everybody here has a strong belief in what we can accomplish this year and we aren’t settling for anything less than that. Everybody’s focus level is high, communication is high and the energy is high. I can’t wait to keep this thing rolling.”"

The balance of the familiar and the new is definitely a big part of what this season will become for the Magic. Especially at this moment.

Mosley said the team’s familiarity and the work so many players did during Summer League with this coaching staff mean that a lot of the team’s foundations were already set. The Magic were able to hit the ground running and move beyond these basics — especially considering the impending landfall of Hurricane Ian may affect the Magic’s practice schedule for the next few days.

Time is of the essence indeed.

The Magic are trying to make the most of every rep and every opportunity. And the message the team is sending that whoever is next or in a drill needs to be ready to go and to be focused on the task at hand.

The players are taking responsibility as much as the coaches for setting a new standard for this team.

"“Everyone is holding each other accountable,” Paolo Banchero said after Tuesday’s practice. “Everyone is open to hearing from other teammates whether it is good or maybe with a little bit of criticism. Just not taking it personal and taking the good message from it and applying it to what you’ve got to do.”"

This is the team’s biggest focus. And the familiarity the team has with each other has seemingly created the expectation that the team will be ready to go and get to the work it needs to prepare for the season.

The consistent response was the energy was good. There is definitely excitement about getting back to work and starting the season. And the fact that the messaging and seriousness of this responsibility is consistent suggests the Magic are diving into these details and absorbing what the coaches are teaching them.

They have definitely embraced this message of accountability during the first day of practice. Words have become action.

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That attention to detail and cultural change should only increase as the team continues to work its way closer to the season. But this tone has been set for who the Magic are and what they want to accomplish.