The 2008-09 Magic lost in the finals, but despite that …

The 2008-09 Magic lost in the finals, but despite that defeat, they rank as one of the most innovative teams in recent league history because of the way they played, how coach Stan Van Gundy deployed players and how GM Otis Smith built the roster. These days, basketball coaches, executives and fans consider the 3-point shot and stretch power forwards as necessary components to successful teams. But 11 seasons ago, heavy reliance on long-range shooting still was gaining acceptance. That Magic team helped transform conventional wisdom because it proved, for the first time, that a team could rely on the 3-pointer heavily, downsize its lineup for a full 48 minutes and win a conference title at the same time. “A lot of teams are playing small ball and spread the floor, a lot of big men in pick-and-roll, pop-and-shoot,” Lewis says now. “We were one of the trendsetters of it.”
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