Orlando Magic Hope Defense Will Carry Them in 2014-15

By Kareem Gantt
Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton
Getty Images

When theOrlando Magic were one of the dominating teams in the Eastern Conference, Orlando was an offensive juggernaut. Ex-coach Stan Van Gundy was a genius at drawing up offensive plays.

But today’s edition of the Magic are a little less potent on offensive than those Van Gundy days. Instead of relying on putting points on the board, this edition of the Magic will rely on keeping their opponents from putting points on the board.

If there is one thing head coach Jacque Vaughn did right, it was getting his players to learn the value of playing defense. The Magic have never been as good defensively under Vaughn than they have been in their history, and anyone who has rooted for the Magic long enough, knows that “defense” and “Magic” never went together.

In fact, the Magic were thinking defense in the 2014 NBA Draft. Look at the players they drafted. Elfrid Payton was a poor man’s Gary Payton in college, and Aaron Gordon was lauded more for his defensive skills than for his highlight reel dunks.

Add to the fact that the Magic possess one of the best two-way players in the league in Victor Oladipo, and Nikola Vucevic patrolling the paint, and you have the makings of a team that could be right back in the top half of the defensive standings in 2014-15.

So although the Magic will still have their offensive shortcomings, they will be among the top defensive teams in the East. And that should be enough to carry them back to the playoffs.

Kareem Gantt covers the Orlando Magic for Rant Sports. For more from this author, ‘follow’ him on Twitter, ‘like’ him on Facebook, and ‘add’ him to your network on Google

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