Orlando Magic: Nikola Vucevic Deserves His Improvement Recognition

By John Raffel
Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to believe that Nikola Vucevic could improve much more than he did for the Orlando Magic this past season.

But he’s only 22 and Vucevic might as well give it a try.

The NBA‘s Most Improved Player balloting was released earlier this week and Vucevic was fourth in the voting. He probably could have climbed up a few notches and have been worthy of the extra recognition.

It could not have been easy playing for the team that had the league’s worst record. But Vucevic definitely got the job done.

He came to the team last August in a four-player trade that involved Orlando’s dealing of Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers. He had not played much with the Philadelphia 76ers, and averaged 5.5 points for that team last season compared to 13.1 this year. His improvement of 7.6 points per game was second only from the lead to the 9.1 points per game improvement to James Harden of the Houston Rockets.

His minutes with the Sixers last season were 15.9 per game compared to 33.2 this season. His shooting percentage from the floor also improved from 45 to 52 percent.

Vucevic’s last game of the regular season against the Miami Heat showed how far he had come when he logged almost 37 minutes, was 9-of-13 from the floor and 2-of-3 for the line, scored 20 points and brought down 13 rebounds. He averaged nearly 12 rebounds a game this season compared to five per game with the Sixers.

While he has shown tremendous rebounding talents this year, more will be expected of Vucevic from the scoring end next season.

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