The Orlando Magic opened their training camp Tuesday at Amway Center, exactly four weeks before their first regular-season game. "It was a good first day," coach Jacque Vaughn said.
Here are the biggest stories from the first day of practice.
Harris playing more small forward for now
It's early, but Magic combo forward Tobias Harris says for the moment, he's playing more small forward than power forward. "I'm just going with that," he said of playing at small forward. "I feel comfortable at both these positions so I just look to embrace it and get better at both of them each and every day."
Harris will leave it up to Vaughn to decide where to play him. Over the summer, he worked on his body so he'd be more comfortable at small forward and power forward. Though listed at 226 pounds, Harris says he's at 240 pounds, which is his playing weight from a year ago. But there's a twist: Harris said he lost "weight"--I believe he meant "fat"--but added muscle.
"I'm more toned and [have] less body fat," Harris said. "It just makes you more a more explosive player, being able to guard threes and guard fours and still be as fast."
The Magic, who are embracing positional versatility, hope that Harris can capably man both positions in his first full season with the team.
Vaughn taking a new approach to captain roles
Jameer Nelson and Glen Davis served as co-captains for the Magic in 2012/13. Vaughn said Tuesday that he hasn't settled on captains for this team, because he first needs to settle on what the term "team captain" means."
"Well, what is a team captain?" Vaughn asked. "Let's talk about that. Is it the most tenured guy? Is it the guy who stays after practice and works the hardest? Is it, 'I was the captain on another team and now I'm a captain on this team'? Is it, 'I was a captain this year, so I'm a captain [now]'?
"We're going to diagnose our captainship, but there's something to be said about a collective responsibility as well."
It's not a surprise that Vaughn endorses "collective responsibility," as it's in line with Orlando's team-first philosophy, a way of thinking which starts with management and has worked its way down to the roster level.
Players go hard on Day One
Vaughn designed the first day of work to be intensive, both to set a tone for a season of hard work but also, more practically, because the team will not reconvene in the afternoon for a second practice.
Vaughn said he was pleased with the players' "conditioning level" and "effort." Nelson was more tempered in his remarks, calling the session "okay" but also "a better day than expected."
Harris, in his first training camp with Orlando, was pleased. "We went hard with a lot of intensity," he said. "That's all Coach could ask for. We'll just rest our bodies and get back to it tomorrow, whether it be a one-a-day practice or a two-a-day practice. As long as we get better as a team, that's the main goal right now."
Orlando won't have its first two-a-day practice until Thursday, which news Maurice Harkless will likely welcome. "I'm gonna go home and go to sleep," he said after his first training-camp practice at the NBA level. Harkless sat out his rookie training camp--he could only shoot set-shots and was not allowed to jump--because he was recovering from hernia surgery, and he didn't make his NBA début until late November.
"I'm a lot more comfortable this year," Harkless said. Vaughn said he noticed Harkless was playing with more physicality and confidence.
Odds and ends
- Davis, who is unable to participate in camp as he recovers from surgery on his left foot, shot free throws after practice.
- Camp invitee Mickell Gladness, listed as no. 40 on Orlando's initial camp roster, wore a no. 50 practice jersey.
- Secrecy was of some importance on Tuesday. Nelson declined to specify which position Victor Oladipo played during the scrimmage which ended the day's official work. Oladipo will play both guard positions during the regular season, but the specifics of his role aren't yet clear.
- Harkless said he worked on his ballhandling and shooting over the summer. One reason for his added strength--he's up to 220 pounds now--is to help him finish through contact. "Just taking hits and still being able to finish, go through guys."