Center Nikola Vucevic is going to be part of the lifeblood of the Orlando Magic in the 2013-2014 NBA season. Though the Magic will be heavily reliant on rookie guard Victor Oladipo and young forward Tobias Harris, Vucevic is a guy who was putting up near All-Star caliber numbers last season and is only looking to grow from there.
However, one of the keys to Vucevic being able to help this Magic team in the regular season, as is the case with most players, is that he will need to be healthy to do so. The Magic took on the Detroit Pistons on Sunday in preseason action and seemed to be taking precautionary measures to keep Vucevic healthy by resting him with the regular season less than two weeks away.
In Vucevic’s absence, though, that opened up the door for second-year player Kyle O’Quinn to get a great deal of run at the center position against the Pistons. Though he wasn’t as effective as you would expect Vucevic to be, O’Quinn was solid on Sunday.
O’Quinn saw the floor for 40 minutes against Detroit, by far the highest total of any player on the Magic. In that huge amount of run, the big man finished the game with 12 points, nine rebounds, two assists and four blocks while shooting a solid 5-9 from the floor and 2-2 from the charity stripe. He may have had four turnovers and five fouls, but those are things that can still be chalked up to inexperience.
Though he may not be a player many have heard of and may not have the most versatile skill-set, O’Quinn is going to be a big part of this Magic team this season. As Orlando continues to rebuild and cultivate their young players, O’Quinn is likely going to be their backup behind Vucevic, an important role in terms of solidifying their reserve units.
The big man has played only 57 games in his infantile NBA career, but he has shown in that time that he’s a solid defender with upside in that area, as well as an underrated offensive player and decent rebounder. If he can continue to be those things in a bigger role this season behind Vucevic like he was against Detroit on Sunday, that will be huge for Orlando this year and beyond.