Nikola Vucevic: Can he Make a Second All-Star Team?
Nikola Vucevic has become possibly the most underrated star in the NBA. While the Orlando Magic did make the postseason last season and Vucevic became the first Magic All-Star since Dwight Howard, the media still tends to overlook the Magic and their All-Star big man. Part of this may have to do with their being in a small market town. The other part may have something to do with just making the postseason in the often-deemed weaker Eastern Conference. However, with all of this in mind, it creates another question. Can Nikola Vucevic make his second All-Star Game this season? Let’s take a look.
Nikola Vucevic: Who he Has to Compete With
Let’s get one thing clear right now. Vucevic will not be voted in as an All-Star starter. As alluded to already, the Magic are simply too small of a market. Also, keep in mind the starters are voted in mainly by the fans (players and media make up the other votes). As a result, the All-Star Game has become more of a popularity contest when it comes to the starters. This shows that some changes need to be made, but that is a discussion for another day.
While Vucevic could make it in as a reserve like last season, his chances of making the starting lineup are close to zero. Frontcourt players who will most likely be voted in before him include the reigning MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid, and/or the reigning Most Improved Player in Pascal Siakam. With this in mind, his hope rests on the coaches around the league who get to vote in the reserves for the All-Star Game. Now, let’s delve into his numbers.
Nikola Vucevic: His Numbers so Far
Despite the Magic being inconsistent so far, Vucevic has been far from that. As of January 4, 2020, Vucevic has tallied 18.3 points per game, 10.7 rebounds per game, and an effective field goal percentage of 50.1%. While his numbers have dipped a bit from last season, this is understandable. Especially when you consider teams are taking the Magic more serious this season after they snuck into the playoffs last year. Players and coaches now know they cannot overlook Orlando and especially Vucevic, specifically his ability to crash the glass and collect rebounds.
His advanced numbers are another aspect to pay attention to as well. His defensive rating is at 104 so far and he also possesses a player efficiency rating of 22.6. Not to mention, Vucevic has a true shooting percentage of 53.1% to couple with an offensive rebounding percentage of 8.1%. These numbers may not be All-Star starter numbers. However, they certainly would warrant a selection as a reserve, or at the very least an alternate in the case of injuries.
It is going to be hard with all of the young talent flourishing in the East this season (such as Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo, and Domantas Sabonis), but Vucevic still has a chance to make it as a reserve again. Not to mention, if an injury occurs, he will certainly be an alternate. Vucevic is too much of a weapon in the post to overlook for the All-Star Game – especially as a glass cleaner. All in all, Nikola Vucevic deserves a spot on the All-Star Team again as a reserve, but the sad truth is that he may not make the cut this season with all of the up and coming talent in the Eastern Conference frontcourt picture.
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