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Steve Clifford sees ‘positional size’ and ‘individual approach’ as Magic’s strengths

Steve Clifford, Magic

Orlando Magic head coach Steve Clifford sees “positional size” and “individual approach” as the Magic’s strengths.

Clifford says the Magic are very versatile at every position, but more importantly, claims all the guys on the roster care about winning and approach the game the right way.

“When I sat down after the season ended with (President of Basketball Operations) Jeff (Weltman) and (GM) John (Hammond) to evaluate the team and I thought the strengths, to me, they were our positional size. That makes us so versatile and that was a key ingredient of being so good defensively,” Clifford told John Denton of Magic.com.

“But, the second part, to me – and this is what I thought at the end of the season and after studying the team I believe it even more now – was the reason we played so well at the end of the year was our individual approach. That has nothing to do with the coach, but the guys here wanted to win, and they were willing to work toward winning. From the way that they practiced every day and did shootarounds and got themselves ready, that’s why we got better. Watch Games 1-25 versus 26-82, what happened is that we played a lot better. People love to talk about all those other (variables), but we played a lot better. That was a direct reflection of what our guys put into it.”

The Magic’s core is headlined by Nikola VucevicAaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Jonathan Isaac, Mo Bamba, Terrence Ross and DJ Augustin.

Orlando signed Al-Farouq Aminu in free agency this summer and is hoping former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz will make his Magic debut in 2019-20.

The Magic made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2012, the final year of the Dwight Howard era. Now, Steve Clifford is looking to see his group take the next step and possibly win a playoff series in 2019-20.