Culture of Hoops

The growth of Orlando Magic youth

[tps_title]Nikola Vucevic[/tps_title]

Image courtesy of RMTip21/Flickr.

Image courtesy of RMTip21/Flickr.

After a breakout-type year his first season in Orlando, Vucevic continued to impress, despite battling a multitude of injuries throughout the season. The third-year big from USC played in only 57 games, 20 fewer than his inaugural season, due to two ankle sprains, a concussion and a sore Achilles late in the season. While the injuries seemingly continued to come one after another, Vucevic was able to perform exceptionally well when he was on the court.

Vucevic showed off a new and improved post game, to go along with an already consistent mid-range jumper. He also continued to rebound the ball at an exceptionally high rate, grabbing 11 rebounds per game and notching 36 double-doubles, which was good enough for a tie for 13th most in the league. His defense also took a step in the right direction, as the team struggled mightily not only rebounding, but defending inside in the games Vucevic didn’t play in.

While he still has a long way to go before he’s a real defensive force, he’s got a decent foundation to continue to build on. To his credit, Vucevic knows this, as is evident when he was asked what he wanted to work on this offseason. Here’s what he had to say about the topic, “Overall work on stuff related to that; that’s going to be my main focus and my post game, something that I’ve gotten better at this year, but I think I can still improve. Just work a lot and improve my game overall, can always get better. Watch all of my games from this year to see what I was doing well, what I wasn’t. Work on that stuff, talk to the coaching staff, see what they want me to work on and set up a good program for the summer.”

Vucevic, like Harris, is going to be up for a contract extension soon, but recently told reporters that he’d like to stay in Orlando. “I’d love to stay in Orlando. I like it here a lot, I like the team, I like what we’ve got going here, I like the coaches, I like everything. I’d love to stay here, but I guess we should talk about that when the time comes. Can’t really talk about that now.” It’s safe to say that he’s going to continue to improve and have a great career, whether that be in Orlando or elsewhere.

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