The Orlando Magic could be in trouble if center OJ Mayo, their newly acquired swingman, can’t play his heart out on the court and with a lot of regular-season games still remaining. Right now, the Magic are second in the Eastern Conference, just a game behind the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics. While many fans are worried that the trades made by the Orlando front office will bring them a big player or two in the near future, I’m not so sure that’s the case.
There have been concerns about the lack of playing time for one of the most experienced players in the NBA in the past, but rookie shooting guard Jason Terry seems to be taking over. He’s earning rave reviews and continues to impress in camp. He looks much more comfortable than everyone else in the Orlando rotation and has started all 16 games. But, just because he’s playing well, doesn’t mean he’s at the same level as his teammates. Below are some issues with dropped passes that you may see from the Magic.
Against the Detroit Pistons, rookie shooting guard Cokie Roberts took over the center position in the starting lineup after the bench was scratched due to injury. He was able to do pretty well, passing the ball around to his teammates and holding them accountable for making shots. Unfortunately, the Pistons scored on the fast break and went on a 12-5 run to take the lead. Roberts didn’t make any of his three-point attempts and the Magic never found a way back into the game.
On the same night that the Detroit Pistons dropped a heartbreaking game in front of their home crowd, the Orlando Magic dropped a pair of ugly basketball games against the visiting Sacramento Kings. The first incident was a dreadful performance from the Orlando Magic where they shot a dismal 4 of 14 from the floor. They also committed eight turnovers and committed fouls to turn what could have been a very winnable game into a loss. Two other dropped passes from the Magic came off screens and were missed by either O’Neal or Wallace.
In the second quarter, O’Neal recovered a missed shot and made two free throws to put the Orlando Magic back within one point. However, the Kings used a 16-3 run to take the lead again and held the Magic to just their second low point. Orlando missed four free throws and the lead was never extended again. It was as bad as they come and rookie Cokie Roberts must be held accountable for one of those lost balls.
There have been many instances over the years when the ball was misplayed in the pick and roll. It is one of the most basic plays in offensive strategy and an essential element of good ball control defense. The key to preventing offensive miscues such as the one on O’Neal could be as simple as sealing off the pick and roll until it becomes a normal part of the scheme. This is something every NBA coach should work on regardless of whether he is coaching in the NBA or not. A good system and teaching methods will always lead to a successful outcome no matter who is a coach or not.
It is difficult to explain how important a good defense is without showing examples of how it can be effective. The Orlando Magic are fortunate to play in an ideal situation to teach Ojiypeid everything that he needs to know. The Magic play the best defense in the NBA, not because of any one player but because all of them work together as a unit. The Magic plays this type of defense at its best when everyone is playing their assignment well and is able to rotate properly. A group effort is what this particular team has been missing.
The basketball world has been fascinated with the way the Orlando Magic has formed a championship team around its young stars such as Tracy McGrady, Earl Clark, Channing Crowder, and Doreen Green. Each of these players has shown why they were selected number one overall during the draft. They are all talented scorers on the defensive end, excellent rebound players, and experienced defenders that will help to protect the rim on the interior. But they are also developing into leaders for their teams because they understand the importance of working as a unit. That type of leadership will be invaluable as the team enters the second decade of continual development.