Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 4/3/13
In just his second season, Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic improved his stats by 7 points and 6.7 rebounds — three of the top-30 scoring centers in the league don’t even average that. The former USC Trojan averages 12.5 points, 11.5 rebounds for a truly underachieving Orlando Squad. Vucevic has the advantage of being a 7-footer but his agility and shooting touch is almost incomparable. Not to mention it took Vucevic just 31 games in an Orlando uniform to pull down a franchise-record-setting 29 rebounds in a single game, a record previously held by a guy named Shaquille O’Neal. The youngster has fouled out of four games this season and had a least five fouls in five more — you don’t nab 29 rebounds by being a patsy and hanging out on the perimeter. In fact, Vucevic may be the only European big man that doesn’t play like a European big man. After the off-season mega-trade that saw Vucevic and Maurice Harkless sent to Orlando from Philadelphia, the Montenegran has become one of the best play-by-example leaders in the entire NBA. In his last 12 games, Vucevic failed to grab double-digit rebounds just twice and just seven times in 44 30-plus-minute games this season. What’s more impressive about Vucevic is his ability to play above the moment and match up well — favorably, even — against some of the best teams in the league. For instance, Vucevic has a pair of 20-10 games against the Miami Heat this season — including the 29-board game. He even had a 20-12 game against Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls. The only players that seem to have Vuc’s number are Zach Randolph, Boogie Cousins, Marc Gasol, Al Horford and Tim Duncan — real bunch of scrubs, right? By and large, the Magic have a young core, led by Vucevic, Aaron Afflolo and Andrew Nicholson. Because of that, Orlando might not even contend for a playoff spot for a couple of years but at least Vuc should be able to lock down the Most Improved title this season.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Landon Donovan: Klinsmann must go if USA loses to Mexico

Texas HC: Don’t blame past coaches for our mistakes

Colts have a chance for history against Texans on Thursday

Jerry Jones: ‘Superman’ Dez Bryant targeting Week 7 return

Former Pats WR: Brady paid practice squad guys for picks

Myles Jack withdraws from UCLA to enter NFL Draft


Seahawks optimistic Lynch will be ‘ready to go’ in Week 5

Antonio Gates feels ‘rebooted’ after serving suspension

Chip Kelly: ‘There’s not a bunch of O-linemen on the street’

Rosevelt Colvin: Belichick had Patriots practice batting balls

Urban Meyer considering using J.T. Barrett in the red zone

Report: Giants 'hopeful' Pierre-Paul can return for final month

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

CC Sabathia and the humanity of athletes

Chip Kelly on Eagles start: Hit two kicks, and we're 3-1

Stephen Curry celebrates three with bench before it goes in

What should be done with Kaepernick?

10 rookies who could be playoff heroes

X-factors to watch in Wild Card games

Texas Rangers ups their concessions game for the postseason

College playoff: Five teams that hurt themselves

College playoff: Five teams that helped themselves

Could this be the Carolina Panthers season?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker