By John Denton
Nov. 5, 2013

ORLANDO -- One by one, the pieces are incrementally better, therefore the Orlando Magic are better as a whole. Just how much better remains to be seen over the long haul of a NBA season, but this kind of progress – one where each player has made a concerted effort to improve – has created a shared purpose coursing throughout the Magic now.

The Magic have only a small sample size to take stock in, but still the growth of the NBA’s fifth-youngest roster is quite tangible so far. Orlando (2-2) pushed Indiana and Minnesota to the brink in the first two games and then throttled New Orleans and star-studded Brooklyn in lopsided home victories.

Whereas some teams make major strides from one season to the next by inking prized free agents or executing blockbuster trades, the Magic’s marked improvement has come the old-fashioned way. Many of their young players, namely Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless, Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O’Quinn and Doron Lamb, spent their entire summers in Orlando and sacrificed their downtime to work on their games at the team facility. That work, which usually included 90-minute weight room sessions and 90-minute on-court drills, not only helped several of the players add some much-needed muscle, but it also allowed them to greatly grow their games and their confidence levels.

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