Orlando Magic Have Been An Elite Defensive Team

Jamahl Mosley, Magic, NBA

One of the most surprising teams in the NBA during the 2023-24 season has been the Orlando Magic. After a brutal start to the 2022-23 campaign put them behind the eight-ball, they played some solid basketball to set the foundation for the future. Evidently, the future is now in Orlando.

The Magic are currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 42-30. They are three games clear of the NBA Play-In Tournament and have a real shot at moving up more in the standings. Currently, they are only 1.5 games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers for fourth place and homecourt in the first round of the playoffs.

How did the Magic get to this point? A lot of people will point out reigning Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero as a big reason why. He made his first NBA All-Star Game this season, as he is the leader of a very impressive group of young players.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Jamahl Mosley, Jonathan Isaac, Jalen Suggs, Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic Updates

Franz Wagner has the look of a future All-Star, while Jalen Suggs is coming into his own, showing real improvement with his 3-point shooting. Six different players are averaging double-digit points per game this season, as the Magic take a team approach to offense.

But, their offense isn’t what intimidates opponents. They are only 23rd in the NBA in offensive rating and 26th in points per game. Where Orlando makes their hay is on the defensive side of the ball, where they have turned into one of the most elite teams in the league.

As shared by NBA University on X, the Magic have been the stingiest defense in the league since the All-Star break. They have a defensive rating of 106.8 in that span, which is in first place. To put into perspective how good that is, the last place Utah Jazz has a defensive rating of 120.9.

One weapon for Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley on that side of the court is Jonathan Isaac. Isaac’s career to this point has been derailed by injuries, but he remains one of the most stellar defenders in the NBA.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Jamahl Mosley, Jonathan Isaac, Jalen Suggs, Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic Updates

He has the size, length and athleticism to defend every position on the court. That enables Mosley to get creative with some of his lineup combinations as Isaac is capable of filling several holes. With his jump shot improving as well, Isaac has the potential to be one of the more valuable players in the NBA.

Seeing younger players such as Suggs, Wendell Carter Jr. and Cole Anthony show improvement on the defensive end of the court gives the Magic a nice baseline to work with. Once their sometimes clunky offense gets figured out, this is going to be a very dangerous team to deal with.

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