Is Nikola Vucevic part of the Magic's Long-term Plan?

At first, Nikola Vucevic was only supposed to be a filler piece through the Dwight Howard trade back in 2012. Now, he's solidified himself as one of the best offensive centers in the league. Not only is he a great scorer, his rebounding is off the charts, which makes him a double-double machine. Still, it's noted that ever since the Magic hired John Hammond and Jeff Weltman to run the front office, this team needed something fresh. In other words, a step in the right direction. 

That means adding new players and letting old ones go. Should Vucevic be considered in the latter? Well, last season was a tough one for him. He averaged 14.6 points with a 46.8 % field goal percentage. Decent numbers, but unfortunately that's a noticeable drop from his 18.2 points per game in the 15-16 season. However, Vucevic has always provided the Magic with what he could. He's been through five losing seasons with the Magic, which is just plain sad. This season, on the other hand, could be a change for the better, and it may not include him.

Orlando is looking for an identity first and foremost. It's what a team strives and holds onto every single night. The Magic as of now has a lot of fast, athletic players. Jonathan Simmons, Aaron Gordon, Terrence Ross, and that's just to name a few. So maybe that's their plan. Run, hustle and jump. Vucevic himself though is not that type of player. He's a catch and shoot, slow-paced center who doesn't provide a lot of defense. 

His talents could work for other teams, but maybe not for Orlando. This is not to say he's not valued as a player, however. For instance, Vucevic dropped a career-high 41 points and 12 rebounds against the Nets recently. Those numbers can't be ignored, even if it's against a team like Brooklyn. You also can't forget about his 29 rebound game against Miami back in 2012. So, there's definitely a lot of value in Vucevic as a whole. However, it may not be the best fit for the Magic right now.

It's possible he would provide great trade bait sometime in February around trade deadline time. Or management could feel he's a keeper and a key part to the future. Regardless of what happens, time will tell at this very early stage of the season.


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