Orlando Magic aim to establish crucial foundation in Summer League

Tristan da Silva gets his on-court introduction to the Orlando Magic and their way of doing things as the team prepares to head to Las Vegas for Summer League.
Tristan Da Silva is getting acclimated to his new team with the Orlando Magic as they build the foundation for his season in Summer League.
Tristan Da Silva is getting acclimated to his new team with the Orlando Magic as they build the foundation for his season in Summer League. / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Tristan da Silva had his new Orlando Magic jersey on when he took photos at the AdventHealth Training Center a few weeks ago. He was getting toured around his new home and met with the media. It was all part of the whirlwind that is the draft.

The one thing da Silva was not doing was actually putting on a Magic uniform to play. The one thing he was not doing was actually playing and being a part of his new team.

That would come a few weeks later once everything slowed down a bit.

The whirlwind of the draft is giving way to the opportunity and learning of Summer League.

It may not be the main roster. It may not even be the head coach—Jamahl Mosley is in Las Vegas leading the U.S. Select Team for the national team's training camp—but it is still basketball yet again. And an important part of his development process.

Tristan da Silva is officially playing basketball for the Magic as Summer League begins. He is getting his crash course into everything the team does through this Summer League team.

As much as anything, that is what Summer League is about. It is the introduction to the team and how it operates. It is an important crash course for a rookie.

"It's super exciting," Tristan da Silva said after the Magic's Summer League practice on Monday. "Finally getting to work, finally getting out there with the guys and getting acclimated. At the end of the day, it's just hoops. That's what I'm here for and that's what I'm looking forward to."

The Magic will get to see their rookie play. And get a feel for who he is as a player. Just as he will get a feel for what the Magic want from him.

Da Silva said his playing goals are pretty simple. He said he just wants to play his style, play the right way and be a good teammate fitting into the system. That is one of the things that attracted the Magic to him. And da Silva feels like he is someone that can do that.

The foundations for his play though and what he will bring to the Magic will be built on the court at the AdventHealth Training Center and then on the court at Thomas & Mack Center and COX Pavilion starting Friday against the Brooklyn Nets.

Summer League is an opportunity to begin teaching the team's young players the "Magic's way" and what this franchise is really all about.

"Once you put in your base foundation of understanding, then it's easy to build from there," Magic Summer League coach Lionel Chalmers said. "We don't want to skip steps and miss situations. Putting that base foundation of who we are and how we do things is important."

In the early days of Summer League practice (the team opened practice Sunday), Magic Summer League coach Lionel Chalmers said Tristan da Silva has played well and been quick to adjust to whatever situations the team has thrown at him.

Jett Howard said he was impressed with Tristan da Silva in the early days too. He said you can tell da Silva is a little older and that his experience is helping him fit in pretty quickly.

That starts with defense—the Magic's hallmark trait. Orlando and its coaching staff are going to try to imprint that foundation on anyone who wears a Magic uniform. The expectation for the team is to play intense defense.

"That's what we stand for," Chalmers said after practice Monday. "That's what we do. That will always be the foundation of what we do. We'll start there. These guys know how important defense is to our foundation. Today I told them defense is what wins championships. We want to keep building in that way and we want to keep continuing to create those habits."

The Magic want to establish good habits right away

That is part of what the team is teaching in Summer League. That is the big takeaway the Magic want certainly from their rotation players. And that is where everything starts for them.

The team wants to establish those habits now. As they try to teach the basics to a new crop of players—including da Silva—this is something the Magic want to stand out.

That is where growth will happen. And ultimately where the team will make decisions on how to use players moving forward. The Magic are going to be trying to figure out who fits in and who does not.

After all, the Osceola Magic under coach Dylan Murphy, run similar offensive and defensive sets. The Magic are going to put a lot of emphasis on the defensive end regardless of where anyone else ends up.

For someone like da Silva, he is getting shown the way by players like Anthony Black and Jett Howard who have been through Summer League before and know what the expectations are. They are going to be seen as leaders for this team.

"Just having gone through it once makes it a little easier to come in and get ready for it again," Anthony Black said after practice Monday. "I feel like we're getting a lot better. All three of our younger guys are getting better. It's going to be fun."

That will be the important thing to remember. The team is getting familiar quickly and trying to build some cohesion ahead of training camp in September.

Everyone has the things they want to work on. Everyone at this level has a lot more to learn and grow. There is a lot to take in and with Summer League there is not a lot of time to take it in.

"Just getting comfortable. Playing the way coach wants us to play," da Silva said after practice Monday. "Picking their brains, learning as much as I can so I'm ready for when the season comes around. Whatever they decide to do to throw me out there, I'll be ready to do whatever they want me to."

Everyone is trying to get that work in and get those basics down. But for the roster players especially, this is the foundation and the beginning of what they hope will be a successful run through the season.

Next. Magic youngsters fit in 07.06.24. Where will the Orlando Magic's youngsters fit in next year?. dark

The foundation for the season for these players starts now.