Tristan da Silva hoping to fit right in with Orlando Magic

Jeff Weltman said Orlando Magic draft pick Tristan da Silva checked all the boxes the team was looking for in the NBA Draft. Da Silva is eager to prove he can fit right in and get going with his new team.
Tristan Da Silva checked off all the boxes for the Orlando Magic. Now he hopes to fit right in. The culture fit seems clear now too.
Tristan Da Silva checked off all the boxes for the Orlando Magic. Now he hopes to fit right in. The culture fit seems clear now too. / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Tristan da Silva had to laugh a bit during his introductory press conference on Friday. Everyone was gushing about him and his play.

Jeff Weltman again checked off the four things the team was looking for and said Da Silva filled those things. His basketball IQ was praised. His playmaking, shooting and versatility were praised. His maturity and experience were praised.

Da Silva had to slow things down and remind everyone he is just a normal guy. Even that was somehow endearing as a sign of his humility and his understanding there is still more work to do.

Da Silva has gotten a ton of praise as every rookie does when teams celebrate their selection when they get introduced to the media. But his seeming fit into the Magic culture off the court seems evident as much as he will fit on the court.

"These two [Jeff Weltman and coach Jamahl Mosley] have been hyping me up so much it's kind of hard to live up to," da Silva said at his introductory press conference. "I'm a regular guy. I'm just like everybody else just living life for the first time. But I'm trying to do the right things and have the right impact."

Da Silva carries himself like the veteran he is. Unlike most draft picks—and particularly first-rounders—who sped precious little time in school, da Silva is a four-year player in college.

He is the first college senior the Magic have drafted in the first round since Andrew Nicholson in 2012 and only the fourth non-freshman college player since that pick (Jett Howard, Chuma Okeke and Domantas Sabonis are the others).

Da Silva earned it too, improving every year at Colorado. He finished his senior year averaging 16.0 points per game and 5.1 rebounds per game. He shot 39.5 percent from three, his second year shooting 39 percent from three after shooting just 26.7 percent from three his freshman season.

Da Silva is someone who has shown he will put in the work to improve. If a player is going to stay, that is what they must do.

"I feel like experience speaks for itself," da Silva said at his introductory press conference. "It's just a matter of development and a matter of knowing who you are and who you are not. I feel like I'm going to be really comfortable coming into this new situation because I know what type of player I am, I know how I can help my team, I know how to fit in right with this group. Those four years definitely helped me to polish my game and understand where my strengths are and apply that to the next level."

That work and understanding is a big part of what the Magic are trying to build. They want players who understand their limitations and are ready to work to build and improve their skills. They are looking for players who will fit into the fold and help build the team.

As Weltman always says, the team is drafting the person as much as they are drafting the player. Da Silva said he felt welcomed by the team immediately and the fit seemed seamless. Da Silva said his dinner after his workout last two-plus hours and the team says they usually last about an hour.

There was a lot of excitement when da Silva fell on the draft board to No. 18. Weltman said the Magic felt like the board broke their way to get a player like da Silva. More than his stats, the Magic feel like he can integrate quickly into their do-everything philosophy.

As much as the team like his scoring, shooting and size. His basketball IQ and his quick decisionmaking make da Silva someone they believe can enter the lineup quickly and contribute even as he goes through the normal rookie learning curve. That is something draft analysts and scouts pointed out about da Silva immediately.

Da Silva is someone who believes he can learn and adapt to the NBA quickly. Just as he did when he moved from Germany to Boulder and began playing in the United States.

"I think basketball IQ is just being a smart player," Da Silva said. "Having the intelligence of the game, understanding positions, understanding advantages, understanding where you have to be on the floor and understanding minimal changes are going to make a big impact on the possession or the play. It might be a step too far to the left or the right and it might mess up the whole spacing. That's something I'm really big on is being detail-oriented in that sense. It's going to create an advantage for you offensively and defensively being in the right spot knowing where you are going to be at all times."

This level of thought processes through the game and from someone this versatile makes him a seamless fit for the Magic. That is the kind of player the Magic are looking for. Their offensive system empowers players to make decisions and play off each other.

The Magic have big plans for the future

Da Silva then seems like a natural fit going to a young team that has accomplished a lot already and is still hungry to do more. That is the important part too. That is the kind of player the Magic want to find.

That is where the Magic stand too. They are not satisfied with their first-round playoff trip. They want to do more. Everyone spoke the day after Game 7 about getting back and winning homecourt advantage to avoid the struggles on the road next year.

The message from the Magic has been they are not satisfied with their seven-game playoff cameo. That is a hunger that everyone coming to the team has to match.

"It's very rare to go into the situation with a lot of young talents that's already done so much," da Silva said Friday. "It's really special to join that group. I feel good going into a situation where I know there are a lot of players who are in a similar mind space as me and the same chapter in their career even if they might have already played for three years. I'm really excited to join that team and complement them."

Da Silva has arrived in Orlando. He checked off all the boxes for the Magic to become the pick. The Magic got a player they feel not only fits their identity on the court but their culture off of it.

That is all anyone wants to feel on the day afer the Draft ends as they introduce their pick to the masses.

Orlando's work begins anew as they get ready for Summer League on July 12 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Da Silva's real work starts now.

Much like the Magic, his journey is just starting.

"Now the real work starts. I know this is a big step and I know that it seems like a huge accomplishment," da Silva said Friday. "But there is a lot of work behind it day in and day out and a lot dedication and love for the game. I feel like that's the thing that is going to carry me even further. Now with these resources that I have here and people I know I will enjoy working with, I can't wait to get to it."