Throughout training camp and the preseason, the Orlando Magic emphasized focusing on their process and honing in on the details as the next steps in their rebuild.
The Magic’s progress will get their first real test in season opener against the Pistons on Wednesday at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
While they don’t count in the standings, preseason games matter. They allow for data collection, lineup/rotation experimentation and players to get a better feel for their teammates.
They also help coaches and players see what else needs to be improved. For the Magic, that means better ball security, better defensive rotations that should cut down on the fouls and picking up on the opponent’s defensive coverages quicker.
All things are worked on during preseason, but they’ll have a better understanding once games start to count against the win-loss record.
“If we focus on the process of doing the right thing, the outcome will take care of itself,” coach Jamahl Mosley said after Tuesday’s practice, before the team departed for Detroit. “We’ll continue to celebrate the small successes with this team but focusing on doing the right thing, playing the right way with that level of consistency is really important for our group of guys.”
While the Magic prioritize themselves, excecuting a gameplan with scouting intel is a part of it.
That means slowing down the Pistons in transition, especially after rebounds, and finding holes in Detroit’s switch-almost-everything defensive scheme.
“They push the basketball and attack that paint,” Mosley said. “Their defense is something that’s been very unique in that they’re one of the most switching teams throughout the league. Our ability to score against switching has to be on point. Our understanding of where we’re going on cuts [and] how our spacing has got to be accurate is very important for us.”
When asked what a successful season-opener would look like, multiple people from the team focused on development.
“Hopefully, we can kind of show what we worked on last year,” second-year forward Franz Wagner said, “and this year also.”
But they also want to win.
“Obviously I want to play well,” said Paolo Banchero, the No. 1 pick in June’s draft who’ll be making his regular-season debut. “But if we win, that trumps everything.”
Markelle Fultz (fractured left big toe), Gary Harris (left knee rehabilitation), Jonathan Isaac (left knee rehabilitation) and Moe Wagner (sprained right midfoot) were listed as out for Wednesday.
The season opener tips off at 7 p.m. and can be watched on Bally Sports Florida/Bally Sports+ or listened to on FM 96.9 The Game.
This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.