Culture of Hoops

The growth of Orlando Magic youth

[tps_title]Andrew Nicholson [/tps_title]

Image courtesy Andrew Nicholson/Twitter.

Image courtesy Andrew Nicholson/Twitter.

Finally, the one Magic young player who really took a step backwards this season. After a strong rookie campaign, Nicholson regressed on both ends of the floor for the most part. What was the main cause for this? What didn’t work for him this season?

While he grew his offensive game, adding a corner three-pointer to his arsenal, he seemed to rely too much on it early in the season. There would be stretches when he was on the court that we would just stand in the corner offensively, waiting for the pass, not moving, not setting screens, just waiting. He showed off some of the most refined footwork in the post last season, yet seemingly refused to go down there.

He started the year with some nice games, but began to struggle and saw his minutes take a huge hit, playing sparingly in many games in December through February. Some of this can be attributed to the return of Harris and the emergence of O’Quinn, but some also rests on Nicholson and his inconsistencies, not only offensively, but also rebounding the ball and defensively.

He was never a great defensive player his rookie season, but really regressed even more this year. He would miss assignments, get beat regularly by his opponent, and sometimes just appear to not really try. That, along with only grabbing five or more rebounds in 21 games this season, hurt Nicholson.

He finished the season with some strong games, finishing in double figures in the team’s final three contests. He showed more willingness to go down in the post and shot off his post moves, rather than rely on his jumper like he had for much of the year. Nicholson’s strong finish could carry over into the offseason and into next season, but it’s clear that Nicholson still has work to do to be a consistent player in this league.

Outside of Nicholson, it was a very good year for the Magic’s young players and their progression. This will be a big summer for all of them, and if they can continue to grow and improve, the Magic could be looking at a big jump in the standings next year.

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