The Orlando Magic have made it pretty clear thus far: They aren’t going to be a bunch of slouches. This team is young and very fun to watch. They likely won’t compete for a championship this year, but at 3-2 the Magic are looking like a team that will quite possibly even fight for a seventh or eighth seed in the Eastern Conference in 2013.
One of the biggest reasons for their success early on is the play of center Nikola Vucevic. He’s had a lot of success through five games, coming up with two of the biggest games of his career.
In a loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Vucevic did a little bit of everything. Ultimately losing in overtime can’t overshadow the greatness of his play against Minnesota. Vucevic ended with 22 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and three steals while shooting 9-for-15 from the floor.
Against the Los Angeles Clippers in their most recent victory — and a huge one at that — Vucevic piled on 30 points, 21 rebounds, three assists, one block and a steal while shooting 11-for-19 and a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe.
On the season, Vucevic is averaging 17.8 points, 13.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. He’s shot the ball at a scorching 56.9 percent from the field and 4.6 rebounds per game have been on the offensive end, giving his teammates more opportunities to score. This all equates to a PER (player efficiency rating) of a whopping 24.90, by far the best on the team.
Vucevic is establishing himself early on this season as one of the best and more complete centers in the entire league. At this pace, there should be no question in anyone’s mind that he makes the All Star team. Of course, it’s early in the year, but Vucevic has been dominant and shows no signs of slowing down. If he keeps going, he could be looking at a playoff berth by April.