At 15-37 coming into the NBA All-Star Break and after having little-to-no success this season, it’s not exactly surprising that the Orlando Magic only have one player participating in all of the All-Star Weekend contests. That one player was Nikola Vucevic in Friday night’s BBVA Rising Stars Challenge.
For the Magic’s sake, Vucevic needed to come out and put on a good show in the game so that he would at least give Orlando something positive to look at and something to hang their hat on. That’s not how it worked out, though.
Vucevic, part of Team Shaq, scored only 15 points and gathered only four rebounds in a little more than 19 minutes. Those aren’t the worst numbers in a regular game, but for an All-Star style game those are pretty mundane stats.
There was a chance that Vucevic could have come out and used his developing skill-set in the post to grab a ton of boards and throw down some power-dunks. However, he played timidly and shied away from the limelight, as well as didn’t get on the floor all that much.
For the Magic this season, Vucevic has been one of their more solid and reliable players. He’s averaging 12.4 points and 11.7 rebounds per game this season and has the second-highest Player Efficiency Rating on Orlando. He’s one of the more promising players on this young Magic team that is rebuilding after the loss of Dwight Howard.
However, no much about this season has been positive for Orlando. They’ve struggled as a whole to find their way without Howard. It would have been nice for them if Vucevic had walked away with a game-MVP type performance, but that didn’t happen. He did hit a three, though. So at least there’s that for the Magic to feel good about.