Film Room: 5 Keys to Magic's Development

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

By Josh CohenMarch 10, 2016

First and foremost, the Magic must become a first-rate defensive team. They had outstanding success earlier this season when they recurrently held opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field (10 of first 24 games). Lately, however, Orlando has struggled sealing off the perimeter (Magic rank 28th in defensive 3-point percentage since Jan. 1) and protecting the paint (Magic are allowing fourth most points inside over last 10 games). WATCH Aaron Gordon with the terrific defensive play at the rim:

The Magic must become a more consistent 3-point shooting team. They’ve made a concerted effort this season to take more threes (averaging three more this season than last) and they’ve done an admirable job creating open looks (crisp ball movement, solid inside-outside game). However, the percentages have not been ideal in recent weeks (third worst percentage in league over last 10 games). When the shots are falling from the perimeter, though, the Magic play with far more confidence (Magic are 13-7 when they shoot 40 percent or higher from 3-point range). WATCH Elfrid Payton drain the triple:

The Magic’s young core must continue to grow. Player development remains a critical aspect of this team. Aaron Gordon, particularly, has made a major leap this season after an injury-plagued rookie year. Also, Victor Oladipo has quietly progressed in very key areas (becoming a very competent pull-up jump shooter, drawing more fouls in recent weeks) and Evan Fournier’s versatility has been impressive all year. They must all enhance their strengths and reduce their limitations. WATCH Oladipo bury the pull-up jumper:

The Magic must rely on their depth. Balance and good teamwork are discernable traits of any good team. It’s, of course, important to mention that a more established and proven team can lighten the need for constant equilibrium. For now, though, balanced scoring and good team defense are crucial. Earlier this season, the Magic would almost always have at least five players score in double figures. With a ton of salary cap space this offseason, the Magic will have an opportunity to add more quality pieces to the roster. WATCH Dewayne Dedmon slam it home:

The Magic must decide the pace they want to regularly play at. There are times when they’ve had success playing a more deliberate, methodical style and there are other times when they’ve been much more effective playing more up-tempo. Over the last 10 games, the Magic have averaged nearly 17 fast break points – which is a sign they are taking advantage of their speed and athleticism. However, some would argue that playing with more patience and discipline would make the Magic a more stifling defensive team. WATCH the Magic on the fast break: