3 ways the Orlando Magic have drastically improved in 2024

The Orlando Magic have taken some major steps this season, finding themselves in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff chase as they near the midpoint of the season. It is a good time to take a step back and see exactly where this growth has occurred.

The Orlando Magic have had to rally together and fight through injuries this year. Something they struggled to do last year.
The Orlando Magic have had to rally together and fight through injuries this year. Something they struggled to do last year. / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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3 ways the Orlando Magic have drastically improved in the 2024 season

Defensive Intensity

If you follow the Orlando Magic, it is no secret coach Jamahl Mosley is a defensive-minded coach who wants to force teams into making mistakes and turning them into offense. We have seen that from Orlando during Mosley's tenure.

But this season they have taken it to another level with arguably less to work with.

The Orlando Magic entered Tuesday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves ranked fourth in the league with a 111.1 defensive rating. The Magic have been among the league's elite defensively, even with some slipping lately.

The Magic have missed two key starters -- Markelle Fultz and Wendell Carter -- since the beginning of the season. They contribute tremendously on defense. This led to a "next man up" approach and we have seen an emergence from Goga Bitazde and Moe Wagner. They have taken their game to another level.

Shooting guard Jalen Suggs has turned into an absolute menace, guarding the opposing team's best players consistently. The list goes on.

The energy this team is playing with is forcing teams into making errors, the Magic are averaging 8.2 steals per game and 5.5 blocks per game. This compared to last season where Orlando averaged 7.4 steals per game and 4.7 blocks per game.

And last year, Orlando finished the season ranked 18th in defensive rating at 113.7 points per 100 possessions and sixth after Dec. 5, 2022 at 112.8 points per 100 possessions.

Even after establishing a strong defensive identity last year, the team has improved on that mark this year and it has boosted the team a ton.