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Up Tempo Offense is About More Than Offense for the Orlando Magic

Make or miss the Orlando Magic are taking the ball back up court as quickly as they can. Many alley-oops will be completed this season by Orlando.

Coach Frank Vogel took note last season of the Magic’s success when playing up-tempo. With Orlando being a mediocre shooting team the best way to get consistent points is in the paint. While that makes sense and is a good idea, it is not enough to just get points in the paint. More NBA teams are shooting and making three-point shots at a higher rate than ever. Simply put, three points is greater than two. To counter the differential in points the Orlando Magic need to use tempo.

Offense Helping Defense

After a made basket the opponents jog back down to the defensive end. Meanwhile, Nikola Vucevic quickly inbounds the ball to Elfrid Payton. Payton hurrys up the court and finds Jonathon Simmons streaking towards the basket for an easy lob pass. The same scenario happens a number of times through the course of the game. Opponents figure out quickly that they have to get back on defense whether it’s a make or a miss. The constant running and hustling helps to tire out the opponents. They can’t keep up this pace and it leads to tired legs in the 4th quarter. The Magic on the other hand, are deep enough to stay fresh by switching up the lineups.

Tired legs lead to jump shots falling short and late defensive help. Keeping the pressure on has been a problem for the Orlando Magic in the past. In the final preseason game versus the Cleveland Cavaliers, Nikola Vucevic spoke on this in a team huddle. Vucevic informed the team that they are making it too easy for Cleveland. He urged teammates to move the ball and not settle for jump shots.

Going into a set offense is only useful to the Magic when facing a poor three-point shooting team. With only the Oklahoma City Thunder being a worse three-point shooting team last season there weren’t many opportunities to play a set offense. Speaking of the Thunder, they used the exact style Orlando will try this season with tons of success. Granted they had the league MVP in Russell Westbrook running the show, but they didn’t have much else. Still, OKC was able to make the playoffs and was an exciting team to watch. The Orlando Magic brought back most of the roster from last season so improvement in three-point percentage will be minimal. They must push the tempo to get an advantage.

Payton Is The Key

For the Orlando Magic to pick up the pace it starts at the point guard position. Elfrid Payton has to demand his team to get up the court quickly. Payton is at his best when he is just playing basketball and not looking to set up a play. He has a knack for manipulating the defense and getting guys in the right places. Elfrid Payton does not need to be a primary scoring option for this team if he can distribute the way he knows how. Payton has always gotten his teammates the ball in position to score. It wasn’t until this season that those teammates knocked down the shots consistently. With this up-tempo style of play, Payton has the ability to be a top-five assist man this season. You can almost pencil in 4 assist a game in lobs alone. With Aaron Gordon, Terrence Ross and Jonathon Simmons running the court in transition Payton just has to decide who gets it.

Can the Orlando Magic Implement a Platoon System?

Watchability

The Orlando Magic were scheduled 1 nationally televised game last season. The main reason the Orlando Magic do not get scheduled for national audiences is they are not a contender. Another reason, is the games were not exciting. That will not be an issue this season. Orlando has no scheduled national games, so far at least. The change of style and early success will cause the team to be in high demand. Television schedules can be changed in the second half of the season and the Magic will give the people a treat. The athletes on the court will be primed for lobs in traffic or in transition. The Orlando Magic will be a constant fixture on sports centers top 10. The exciting style of play will draw more fans to the game as well as national attention back to Central Florida. Being an exciting team not only draws attention from fans but it draws attention from players. The Orlando Magic want to be

The exciting style of play will draw more fans to the game as well as national attention back to Central Florida. Being an exciting team not only draws attention from fans but it draws attention from players. The Orlando Magic want to be big-time players in free agency again. The free-flowing offensive style will surely bring more Free Agents to Orlando. The Magic were able to land Jonathon Simmons for that exact reason. Simmons wanted a chance to do what he does best without restrictions. Letting players play is a great tool to entice free agents. The Magic’s up-tempo play will impact much more than just the offense.

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Vincent is the editor of Orlando Magic content for The Oliver’s Twist.

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