New Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley Provides Insight on Team’s Offensive and Defensive Philosophies

Jamahl Mosley
by Dan Savage

ORLANDO -- In the realm of the Orlando Magic, Monday was all about first looks.

Fans and media had an opportunity to meet Jamahl Mosley as the team held an introductory press conference for the 15th head coach in franchise history.

In the process, Mosley also peeled back the curtain and gave a glimpse at what a new era of Magic basketball will look like with him at the helm.

“My offensive philosophy is simple; I want to keep it as simple as possible,” said Mosley, who has spent 14 seasons in the NBA as an assistant coach. “I want to play with pace, I want to play with space, and I want to play with the pass. I think the pass brings energy to the game and it allows people to be at their best. I want to put these guys in the best positions to succeed.”

Mosley is certainly no stranger to explosive offensive units. As a member of Rick Carlisle’s staff in Dallas, Mosley helped oversee a group that finished top 10 in the NBA in offensive rating the last two seasons. The Mavericks ranked eighth (114.6) this past year, after leading the league in 2019-20 (115.9).

On the defensive end of the floor, the Magic’s new commander expects to utilize the team’s tremendous length and be a group that causes disruption and chaos for the opposition.

“Defensively, I want to be a tough, talkative, high-level communication team,” said Mosley, who spent the final three of his seven seasons in Dallas as the organization’s defensive coordinator. “And then tied together defensively to be disruptive, to take teams out of their sets and their comfort zone.”

He’ll certainly have a plethora of young weapons at his disposal to help make that vision become a reality.

Among those is Jonathan Isaac, who missed all of last season with a knee injury but has shown flashes of developing into a player capable of making multiple All-NBA defensive teams. Mo Bamba recorded at least four blocks in three of his final eight games of the season. R.J. Hampton has all the physical tools to become a tremendous two-way player. Wendell Carter Jr. is versatile and defensively sound. Cole Anthony is a pesky on-ball defender, and Markelle Fultz notched at least one steal in seven of his eight games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

“I think there’s an ability that we have with length on this team,” Mosley explained. “There’s a lot of length on the team which in the NBA now is very important. We also have guards that can crawl into the ball. I talked about wanting to be disruptive and tough. We have the roster that is capable of doing that.”

With a background in player development – Mosley’s stint as a player development coach in Denver overlapped with current Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman’s tenure as Nuggets assistant general manager – Orlando believes that his strong communication skills will resonate with its youthful roster and that he’s the right man for the job at the right time.

“Jamahl has a unique set of abilities,” said Weltman, who’s been impressed by Mosley since they first crossed paths. “His passion, his experience, his ability to connect. He has an amazing interpersonal skillset with anyone, and it stems from his compassion as a person. He’s a great listener, he cares, he wants to get involved in people’s lives, and he’s a true coach. He wants to make you better.”

His ability to connect with others was even evident in his first day on the job. As Mosley went through a photoshoot, sat down with the organization’s internal media team, and held his introductory press conference via zoom, he took time to get to know members of the franchise’s support staff and connected with others on a wide array of subject matter.

“Where we are, it’s a perfect fit,” Weltman said. “Jamahl will come in and improve our players. They will know that everything he does is for and about them. And as they get better, we will get better. I have so much optimism.”

If there was a final theme of Mosley’s introductory press conference, it was alignment. His vison matches that of Weltman and the rest of the front office as they share a belief of how to turn the Magic into a perennial winner and eventual championship contender.

“There is no doubt that this is a new day for the Orlando Magic and as I’ve said before – and I don’t want to kind of make this about that – we have a host of very talented, high-character, young players, who are really excited about playing with one another that have been brought into this league the right way,” said Weltman, whose team also possesses the fifth and eighth overall picks in the talented 2021 NBA Draft. “We have flexibility and extra picks, and now a coach to be the point of the spear and really align them, define roles, and develop them in a way that will translate to winning.”

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