Orlando Magic: 2017-18 player grades for Nikola Vucevic

Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images /
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(Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /


Vucevic fell just short of averaging his fifth double-double in six seasons, posting 16.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, but he was a leader in other areas too.

He finished in the top five for the Magic in Player Efficiency Rating (19.7, first), field goal percentage (47.5 percent, fifth), rebounds (9.2 per game, first), scoring (16.5 points per game, third) and assists (3.4 per game, fourth).

Vucevic also extended his range to beyond the 3-point line, and although he shot a poor 31.4 percent from distance, trying to stretch the floor for the team was a positive.

Vucevic attempted 155 3-pointers in his first six years in the league, compared to 204 last season alone. The fact only 64 went through the net is testament to growing pains more than anything else.

This is also encouraging because Biyombo’s deal, which sees him paid $17 million for the next two seasons (2019-20 is a player option he will definitely take) can’t be moved. Nobody is going to take that on unless there are highly tempting sweeteners added, and that means draft picks — something the Magic desperately need.

So with the team stuck with a player who has an offensive game that doesn’t extend beyond the paint, it is critical Vucevic learns to do so in order for the two to play together.

The fact that this has begun to happen may just ensure Vucevic stays with the team even longer. Put simply, he has been the best, most consistent player of the Magic’s awful rebuild so far.