Nikola Vucevic leaves an Orlando Magic legend behind
In the midst of a terrible year for Orlando Magic, there were few bright spots.
One of them was Nikola Vucevic.
The deal with Vucevic left Magic fans broken, but the departure was different from previous all-star centers. This time, Vucevic left while receiving the love of fans. He made an impact on Orlando and went on to be one of the best players in franchise history.
It felt like there was still work to be done for him. And even as the team around him fell apart and decided to start over, it still felt like Vucevic could be a pillar for the team to rebuild. Or at least someone who could provide stability.
Nobody confuses Vucevic as one of the members of the franchise mountain. Rushmore. He lacked the playoff success and consistency during his long tenure. But this season cemented his legacy with the team and turned the discussion about him and his career with the team.
In a year when magic struggled with injuries, Vucevic was a constant and was extradited every night. Using the magic, he averaged 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 48 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from three.
The Orlando Magic has had few positive results this season. However, Nikola Vucevic established himself as an all-star and someone who will have a permanent place in the team’s history.
He went on to averaging 21.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game with the Bulls while shooting 38.8 percent from depth and an effective field goal percentage of 53.2 Percent scored. A goalscorer like Zach LaVine showed promise, but injuries again ensued when LaVine missed two weeks on health and safety logs and the Bulls missed the playoffs.
Vucevic always had an unfair burden to bear. He kept putting the magic on his back and giving them a chance to win. But unfortunately it wasn’t enough and Orlando spun around.
Vucevic was still drawing attention to the league when he went all-star twice this season. He showed that he is a real all-star by having two 40-point games and eight 30-point games.
Vucevic took this season and proved that there was a next level for his game. And if only the team had stayed healthy, the story might have played out differently. Vucevic showed that the 28 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists against the Bucks in the five-game series in the bubble would continue into the next season.
Even in a year when Vucevic’s usage rate was high at 29.9 percent, which ranks 15th in the NBA, he still held a positive defensive box plus / minus with a plus of 0.1 and a plus of 5, 6 on the floor.
He was always in the right position defensively. In this regard, he continued to improve as a leader and as a lone defender.
The magic around him was terrible, but Vucevic was consistently positive. Orlando tried to replace him and his versatility.
But maybe that was part of the plan. Orlando wanted to sit back and find the star that Vucevic just couldn’t be. Despite his best efforts this season.
In the end, this season will be remembered for the success of the trades Orlando made at the close of trading. But this season should also be remembered about how great Vucevic was for the magic.
Overall, Nikola Vucevic had his best year of his career, but Magic’s record doesn’t show how good he was.
Individually, he wore and did his best to give Orlando a chance to win, but injury and bad luck made it not enough for them to keep up in the standings.
But alone, Vucevic ended his magical tenure with a bang and will always be remembered as a great magician. He deserved a better ending with Orlando, but regardless of how the season ended, he still earned an A.