Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Magic Make Key Signing Amid Playoff Race

Jamahl Mosley and Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic

In the wake of the Orlando Magic’s transformation into a playoff contender, Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley has agreed to a four-year contract extension that will keep him with the franchise through the 2027-28 season, per ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski. The 45-year-old Mosley has been coaching Orlando for three seasons, taking over for former head coach Steve Clifford as the franchise prepared for a rebuild.

Magic Re-Sign Jamahl Mosley Amid Playoff Race

Following the announcement of their deal, Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman would say that “[Mosley] and his staff have done a tremendous job not only this season, but since we hired him back in 2021.”

“His preparation, work ethic, ability to connect with the players, and passion he brings to the job every day brings positive results, both on the court and off,” he continues. “We are very happy to have Jamahl lead the Magic for years to come.”

Weltman has been with the Magic since 2017. If Orlando holds tight to their playoff spot over the next month, this will be the third Magic team that he’s seen reach the postseason. It will be the first Orlando team to reach the playoffs after the franchise decided to move on from several key players.

Making Key Decisions

Former cornerstones Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, and Evan Fournier were all traded during the 2020-21 season. Clifford and the Magic mutually agreed to part ways after the season.

With this, the stage was set for a rebuild.

That summer, the Magic drafted Michigan standout Franz Wagner with the eighth overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. A two-way playmaker at 6-foot-10 and 225 pounds, Wagner was fifth in Rookie of the Year voting. However, Orlando finished the season with a 22-60 record, the worst in the Eastern Conference.

The next summer, the Magic made the fateful decision to draft Duke product Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 overall pick. Unlike the selection of Wagner, Banchero’s selection was met with incredulities and skepticism.

Hoops sensation Chet Holmgren was projected to be the top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Meanwhile, Banchero seemed like a lock to be drafted by the Houston Rockets at No. 3. Neither of those situations manifested themselves, and the Magic have been better off for it.

Holmgren sat out for what should have been his rookie season after sustaining a Lisfranc injury. Banchero won Rookie of the Year, doing plenty to help the team amass 12 more wins than they did the previous season.

Magic Big 3

Notably, Banchero credited Mosley’s hands-on approach to player development as a key to his performance last season.

Averaging 20.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 0.8 blocks per game, only Banchero’s film was better than his production. Polished and poised, Banchero made several plays that spoke to his All-Star potential. The next season those dreams would be realized. Banchero had earned his first All-Star selection at the tender age of 21.

Now earmarked as a perennial All-Star candidate, he and Wagner have led the Magic to a 37-28 record this season. Their win percentage (.569) is the highest it’s been since the 2010-11 season (.634). However, amid their recent success, Mosley’s performance has him looking like the third member of a Big 3.

Offensively, Mosley’s emphasis on pace and ball-movement plays into the strengths of his young team. Yet, defense is where Mosley specializes. Quick to adapt to his personnel, Mosley’s has deployed multiple defensive schemes that create chaos and discomfort.

That he’s a no-nonsense head coach that’s balanced and reserved emotionally is also a benefit.

An old adage is that teams take on the personalities of their coaches. If that’s the case, it makes sense why Orlando plays with passion and discipline but not out-of-control. Furthermore, all of his young players are assured of themselves and know their role. This also speaks to his intangibles.

The psychological aspect of sports often goes unnoticed unless it’s an exhibition of extreme emotion. However, the mental calmness that his team possesses is key in their ability to navigate through the rigors of the NBA.

What’s Next for the Magic?

After completing a hat trick with their acquisitions of Mosley, Wagner, and Banchero, their immediate goal is playoff contention.

Yet, all 30 teams want to get their paws on the Larry O’Brien Trophy. With that, Mosley’s continued efforts to bring the best out of his young players will be key. The Magic currently have eight players that are 23 or younger, including: Wagner; Banchero; 2020 No. 15 pick Cole Anthony; 2021 No. 5 Jalen Suggs; 2023 No. 6 pick Anthony Black; and 2023 No. 11 pick Jett Howard. All but Howard are currently members of their rotation.

Share:

More Posts

Kyle Kuzma is reportedly available in off-season trade talks.

Wizards Star Reportedly On Trading Block

Wizards executives are shopping star Kyle Kuzma around the league after trade talks raged throughout the season. The Washington Wizards are reportedly putting Kuzma on the