Orlando Magic Have Major Questions at Backup Center Heading Into Season
The Orlando Magic have a solid young core that seems to keep adding young talent. After all, they did land arguably the best prize of the 2013 NBA Draft with the number two pick when they nabbed Victor Oladipo who will join players like Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless and Nikola Vucevic, all of whom seem to have bright futures in this league.
Vucevic is the one of those players that has already accomplished the most in the Association, though. At just 22 years old and in only his second NBA season, Vucevic averaged a solid 13.1 points, 11.9 rebounds and one block in 33.2 minutes per game, while also knocking down 51.9 percent of his field goal attempts. Coming into his third season, Vucevic has the starting center position locked down.
However, the backup center position in Orlando is a much different situation. As of right now, the closest thing that the Magic have to a true center on their bench is second-year player Kyle O’Quinn. After that, their other options would be playing undersized big man Jason Maxiell at center or running out small-ball lineups.
As a rookie last season, O’Quinn appeared in 57 games, averaging 4.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 0.5 blocks in just 11.2 minutes per game. O’Quinn also shot a decent 51.3 percent from the floor. He’s by no means a game-changer, but he does have quality athleticism and skill that could make him successful.
The biggest issue the Magic face regarding backing up Vucevic is uncertainty. It’s unknown how well this team could run a small-ball lineup, how having an undersized guy like Maxiell in there would work out, or how O’Quinn would perform in a larger role.
Perhaps the best news for the Magic regarding this dilemma, though, is the fact that this team isn’t exactly in a rush. Orlando has a slew of young, talented players on their roster, but they aren’t expected to make the leap just yet. They are still growing and developing together, meaning there won’t be a ton of pressure on O’Quinn or whoever fills in behind Vucevic. The Magic aren’t close to reaching their full potential yet and this is just another area where they need to get things sorted out before that happens.
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