ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Every Orlando Magic locker inside the newly built AdventHealth Training Center comes with its own walk-in closet. The facility has nap rooms, floatation pods, an outdoor grilling area, a heated indoor pool, an area that provides players with three meals a day, a game room and so much more.
They’ve built a palace.
And now, the Magic start the process of building a team.
Like most clubs in the NBA, training camp for the Magic starts Tuesday in Orlando — where internal expectations are high despite the reality that external expectations will be considerably different.
“When you have something like this to come into every day, obviously, it puts you in a better place to get your work done,” Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman said. “We’ve spared no expense. We’ve spared no thought to detail. But organizationally, what it really does is communicate the level of excellence we hope to achieve here.”
It’s not just the building, of course, that gives the Magic hope. No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero, who was impressive in his two Summer League games at Las Vegas, is the new centerpiece of Orlando’s plans to become a winner again.
“Day One of my career,” Banchero said of Tuesday’s looming first training camp practice. “It’s definitely going to be a memory and I’m definitely excited.”
Magic coach Jamahl Mosley looked around the building Monday — it has been finished for a few weeks, though some final-final touches are getting completed now — and beamed. The main playing area has two full courts side-by-side, with two more baskets along another wall near the massive weight room.
There are also eight banners on the wall — two Eastern Conference title ones, six others for division titles. Tuesday starts the process of trying to add to that collection.
“I think it’s going to be hard to get these guys out of here, which is exactly what you want,” Mosley said. “Now, we won’t have to sit down and have to watch film with them all the time. But they’ll be able to enjoy this and be around each other, which continues to provide that chemistry that this team already has.”
Markelle Fultz (broken toe) will miss the entirety of training camp, as will Gary Harris (torn meniscus). Jonathan Isaac, who has appeared in only two games — out of a possible 198 — since Jan. 1, 2020 because of knee injuries, is participating in some individual work and 1-on-1 but isn’t ready for full-on practicing. He said he has no doubt that he will be ready to play at some point this season, hopefully sooner than later.
BACK TO 5
Banchero wore No. 5 at Duke, and he’s wearing it again with the Magic. Orlando center Mo Bamba happily switched from No. 5 to No. 11 to make that happen, and said no negotiations were necessary. He wanted Banchero to have his customary number.
Hurricane Ian is moving toward Florida and is projected to impact the Central Florida area — meaning Orlando — but there are no plans yet for camp to be interrupted or practice plans to be adjusted. Forecasters say the Orlando area may get 4-8 inches of rain in the next few days with some tropical storm-level wind gusts (39 mph to 73 mph). The storm’s projected track suggests that other parts of Florida will experience worse conditions than what is forecast for the Orlando area.
Magic guard Cole Anthony played at North Carolina. Banchero played at Duke. This will inevitably lead to trash talking between the two teammates, though Anthony revealed that he has yet to point out to Banchero that the Tar Heels went 2-1 against the Blue Devils last season — with the wins coming in Mike Krzyzewski’s final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and then his final game on the Duke sideline after North Carolina prevailed over its rival at the Final Four. “I haven’t said anything, but it feels like an obligation at this point,” Anthony said.
Magic forward Franz Wagner arrived for camp after a great summer of EuroBasket play for his native Germany, where soccer is extremely popular. So when he was posing for photos at Media Day, someone asked him to show some soccer footwork with a basketball. Wagner asked for a soccer ball instead and put on quite a juggling show. “I’m the best soccer player in the building, I’ll tell you right now,” Wagner said.