National Basketball League Basketball Schedule, News, Tickets, Scores, Players, Blogs, Videos, Links and More
More Fan Site Teams:

What should the Magic do with Nikola Vucevic?

What should the Magic do with Nikola Vucevic?
Published On: Fri, Jan 11
Apr 1, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee won 113-110. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic have made several damaging moves since they sent a disillusioned Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a four-team deal in 2012, but that deal - which objectively wasn't a bad trade - has always been seen as the one that broke them.

In the six-plus years since Howard's departure, the Magic have crossed the 30-win threshold just once, finishing with 25 or fewer wins four times. No Orlando player has made an All-Star Game during that period. However, Nikola Vucevic - the young center Orlando acquired in the Howard trade all those miserable years ago - looks poised to become the team's first All-Star since Superman left central Florida.

Vucevic, now 28, is having by far his best season, averaging 20.2 points, 12 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.2 blocks with a 59-percent true shooting mark, all career highs. He has long been one of the game's more skilled offensive bigs, but this year he's sharpened those skills into razor-like talons; he's gotten a bit better, and a bit meaner, in every conceivable way.

He remains an inhaler of rebounds and a handful on the block; a low-post brute with a feathery touch. But he's also polished his handle, developed a reliable 3-point shot, and honed his footwork. He's been more decisive attacking mismatches, more willing and able to put the ball on the floor, and quicker to pass out of double teams. He can pop, dive, post up, spot up from three, create from the elbow, or scavenge from the dunker spot. Also, his improved positional awareness as a drop-back defender in the pick-and-roll has papered over a lot of his physical limitations at that end of the floor.

Among big men, Vucevic ranks in the 95th percentile in assist rate, the 97th percentile in defensive rebound rate, the 87th percentile in mid-range shooting accuracy, the 83rd percentile in 3-point shooting, and the 92nd percentile in defensive foul avoidance, per Cleaning the Glass. Virtually every advanced metric - be it PER, Real Plus-Minus, Box Plus-Minus, Player Impact Plus-Minus, Win Shares per 48 minutes - pegs him as a top-15 player in the NBA so far in 2018-19.

But Vucevic is a few months from unrestricted free agency, and the roster around him makes little sense. The Magic - clearly planning for a future without him - have used three top-six picks in the last five drafts on frontcourt players (Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, Mo Bamba) while their backcourt and wing rotations have gone underdeveloped. They've lost nine of their past 12 games to fall to 17-24 and posses the league's 28th-ranked offense and sixth-worst net rating. They've been a net positive with Vucevic on the floor, but they've been outscored by a staggering 13.2 points per 100 possessions with him on the bench.

Read the complete news article here...


More Featured News

Celtics' Kyrie Irving on technical: If someone questions your manhood, you got no choice
Published On: Sat, Jan 19
Don't question Kyrie Irving's manhood.Shelvin Mack learned that in the Celtics' 122-116 win over the Grizzlies on Friday.In the third quarter, Mack said something to Irving on an in...
Nets waive veteran forward Faried
Published On: Sat, Jan 19
The Brooklyn Nets have requested waivers on forward/center Kenneth Faried.Faried was originally acquired by the Nets via trade with the Denver Nuggets on July 13, 2018. In 12 games ...
Kenneth Faried agrees to Nets buyout ahead of joining Rockets
Published On: Sat, Jan 19
Brooklyn Nets forward/center Kenneth Faried has agreed to a contract buyout, clearing the way for him to sign a free-agent deal with the Houston Rockets, league sources ...
Rick Carlisle: 'Business' behind Dennis Smith Jr.'s absence from Mavericks
Published On: Sat, Jan 19
Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle reiterated on his weekly radio show that disgruntled point guard Dennis Smith Jr. "is welcome to come back and rejoin the team whenever he feels...
Blake Griffin settles lawsuit with Brynn Cameron
Published On: Sat, Jan 19
NBA star Blake Griffin has reached a deal with his baby mama which will dismiss her massive lawsuit against him.According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Griffin and Brynn...
Steve Kerr: Warriors are 'light years ahead' after Kevin Durant-Draymond Green dispute
Published On: Sat, Jan 19
The last time the Warriors arrived at this city, they did not look like a championship team. Instead, they became a star-driven team plagued with infighting and injuries.Draymond Gr...
Warriors aren't worried about DeMarcus Cousins' fit, but can he lift them back to greatness?
Published On: Sat, Jan 19
After a half-season of anticipation, waiting to see when the Golden State Warriors might break out their newest weapon, DeMarcus Cousins is ready to debut. The former All-Star, who ...
Rockets 'Aggressively' Working to Deal Carmelo Anthony
Published On: Sat, Jan 19
Carmelo Anthony's brief stint with the Houston Rockets could end as early as next week.A Per ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockers are "aggressively working" to find a trade pa...
Carmelo Anthony hints at basketball return in Instagram post
Published On: Sat, Jan 19
Carmelo Anthony seemed to hint at a return to basketball in an Instagram post on Friday.Anthony posted a photo of himself appearing to be riding in a car. The caption was a quote sa...
Jerseys Hats Shirts Sweatshirts