Orlando Magic trying to stay in the moment as they pick up lost time

Jamahl Mosley got the Orlando Magic back to practice after missing the last two days with Hurricane Ian. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Jamahl Mosley got the Orlando Magic back to practice after missing the last two days with Hurricane Ian. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic were back in the gym for the first time in two days after Hurricane Ian canceled the pair of two-a-days the team had planned for Wednesday and Thursday.

The important thing as they reconvened was that everyone was safe and pulled through the storm OK — coach Jamahl Mosley said there were a few leaks in roofs among players and neighborhoods that dealt with some flooding (Terrence Ross shared photos of how flooded his dock was).

They know there are people in Central Florida and throughout the state who still have it worse as the rain has ceased and people begin to understand the damage the storm caused.

All they could feel was the gratitude of being back in the gym and getting the chance to play their sport.

That was a key message Mosley wanted his team to absorb as they got back to training camp. He also did not want them to be focused on the time lost.

The Orlando Magic lost two days of practice riding out Huricane Ian. As the team returned to practice Friday, they aren’t trying to make up for lost time but focusing on what they need to do to stay ready.

While virtually the entirety of Florida shut down for the last two days to ride out the storm, the rest of the NBA world carried on. The Magic’s two days — and the four practices that were canceled — are something they cannot get back.

But it is not something they need to race to make up either. There is no getting back lost time. The message as the Magic resumed training camp was to make the most of the time they get.

"“I told our guys before you aren’t going to get time back,” Mosley said after Friday’s practice. “Don’t put the pressure on yourself to get time back. What you need to do is have the perspective of let’s win today. Let’s take care of today. Let’s take care of what we can control in this moment.“Yes, there are other teams out there practicing and getting drills and that’s going to be understood. But just like this community, we’re going to be resilient and take what’s handed to us and make the most out of it and do our best in that moment. That’s what these guys showed today.”"

Orlando did have to be careful and manage players a bit after two unexpected days off.

Mosley said the goal as the team returned to practice was to get back in the gym and have players feel the energy of being around each other once again. The team will move forward from there and continue building its foundation and preparing for the season ahead.

The Magic did do some 5-on-5 work that included experimenting with some lineups and playing Wendell Carter, Paolo Banchero and Bol Bol together (Cole Anthony let it be known that his team got them off the court with a win). But the point was to get back on the court and get the blood flowing again as they continue to build their foundations for the upcoming season.

The action certainly had all the tell-tale signs of it being early in camp too. Carter said the team got winded pretty quickly and Anthony added there was some sloppy play. That is perhaps the biggest area where the Magic will be behind for a little while. They just have not had the time to get out on the court.

Mosley said the team was only practicing once Friday and would determine after Saturday’s practice session whether they would go a second time to try to make up some ground before heading to Memphis following Sunday’s practice for Monday’s preseason game.

The calendar keeps hurtling forward even as the Magic try to get their work in and make up for two lost days to be ready to go for the start of the season in just a few weeks.

That pressure is a very real thing the Magic are dealing with. And that first preseason game might really show how much ground the team lost and how much they have to make up.

But that cannot be the mindset. As Devin Cannady might say, the team simply needs to run its own race. There is still time to get things together.

"“There was definitely some pressure on everyone, not just players but the coaches too, some urgency to get back out here and make it up in one day,” Anthony said after Friday’s practice. “But that’s not realistic. We’ve got to take our time. It’s still preseason. When you try to catch up on lost time, that’s when people get hurt and we want to keep everyone healthy.”"

That is what the Magic have to keep their focus on. They have to continue to work on themselves.

At this point in training camp, most teams should be focused on themselves. There is very little game-planning for this stage of the preseason. Orlando will let the game happen. But the focus is still on the team’s basics and fundamentals.

That is what the team will work on in the next two days. First, the team has to get back up to speed and that is what Friday’s practice became about.

This is obviously not ideal for anyone. In a perfect world, the Magic would have continued from Tuesday’s first practice and held two practices each of the next two days. They would be right on schedule.

But the lesson for life too is that you have to roll with the punches and adjust in real-time. The perfect world rarely occurs — if ever. The teams that do best are the ones that can adjust quickly and make the most of what is in front of them.

That was as much the message Friday as anything else.

"“At the end of the day, Coach Mose told us at the beginning we just have to live in the moment,” Carter said after practice Friday. “You can’t control everything that happens in our life. You can only control what you can control. We can only control today and just get as much as we can out of the day today.”"

The goal then was to win Friday. Whether the team was able to do that will be up to the coaching staff and the players.

Next. Jonathan Isaac clearing final hurdles to return to court. dark

But it will be a step forward. All the team can do is do that. And the Magic are getting closer back to normal.