Lionel Chalmers 'Thankful' For Opportunity to Coach Magic's Summer League Team

After being an assistant with the Orlando Magic since 2019, Lionel Chalmers is set to lead the summer league team for the first time in his coaching career.
Lionel Chalmers
Lionel Chalmers / Orlando Magic YouTube Channel
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ORLANDO — The NBA Summer League presents plenty of opportunities and firsts for both players and coaches participating in it.

For Orlando Magic assistant coach Lionel Chalmers, the NBA 2K25 Summer League presents the first opportunity for him to run the show. Chalmers, who has been an assistant with Orlando since 2019, spoke highly of the chance he'll have to be the coach of the Magic's summer league team.

"It's a great opportunity," Chalmers said on Monday. "I'm thankful for the opportunity. The organization has been great to me and I've been here for some time now and to have an opportunity to lead and share and help these young guys is what it's all about for me. I'm thankful."

Chalmers initially joined the Magic's coaching staff when Steve Clifford was still the franchise's coach. After two seasons, Clifford and Orlando parted ways, but Chalmers remained a part of the staff when Jamahl Mosley became the Magic's coach in 2021.

Prior to entering the NBA coaching ranks with Orlando, Chalmers had a decorated collegiate career with Xavier University from 2000 to 2004. He played for the Musketeers for four seasons and was a three-year starter, earning all-Atlantic-10 Conference honors and making the all-tournament team twice and was the MVP of the conference tournament once. Chalmers' best year came in his senior season, as he averaged a career-best 16.6 points per game and made 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers.

His play in his senior season helped lead a No. 7 seed Xavier team to the Elite Eight with wins over Louisville, Mississippi State and Texas before they were eliminated with a 66-63 loss to a Duke team that had former Magic guard JJ Redick on it. After playing just one season in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers, Chalmers played 11 years overseas in various countries, including France, Spain and Russia.

With the challenge that comes with bringing a new roster together and getting it ready for the summer league, instilling the Magic's core principles has been a point of emphasis for Chalmers. Among them has been playing defense, which was the hallmark of Orlando's success last season. The Magic were second in defensive rating, fourth in points allowed per game and held the Cleveland Cavaliers under 100 points five times in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

"It's very critical," Chalmers said. "That's what we stand for [and] that's what we do. That would always be the foundation of what we do. We'll start there and these guys know how important defense is to our organization. Today I told them defense is what wins championships. We want to keep building in that way and we want to keep continuing to create those habits and that's our culture."

Chalmers will make his debut as the Magic's summer league coach on Friday when they face the Cavaliers in Las Vegas at 4 p.m. ET at the Pavilion.

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Nathaniel Marrero