Nikola Vucevic - Super Skilled Center (2021 All-Star)
- Published on: 2/20/2021
- Nikola Vucevic. 2019 NBA All-Star. Vucevic is averaging a career best 23.6 points per game on 48.0/40.7/82.1 shooting splits.
As of February 20th, he is 18th in league in points per game - sitting just behind the likes of Donovan Mitchell, James Harden, and Devin Booker. Nikola is also averaging 11.7 rebounds per game, good for 5th in the league - only reigning Defensive Player of the Year and back-to-back MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and MVP favorites Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid are also in the top 20 in scoring and top 10 in rebounding. For what it is worth: Vuc is also 18th in the league in Player Efficiency Rating - ahead of guys like Trae Young, Paul George, Rudy Gobert, Bam Adebayo, and Zach LaVine - and 8th in Value Over Replacement Player - better than James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, and Chris Paul.
The Montenegrin should remind some of Kevin McHale. Featured in a Zach Lowe 10 things article (link below) is a quote about how he watched film of footwork masters, including Kobe Bryant - so Nikola’s footwork is phenomenal. He punishes with pivots and he’ll take advantage of any opening the defense provides. Ambidextrous and Sikma-esque, the former USC Trojan’s touch is terrific. He'll bump and bang but he possesses more finesse than you would think. However (comma) he'll finish with force if you give him the chance! Shoutouts to Draymond Green and Kelly Oubre Jr.
Per Synergy, he’s excellent at jump hooks from the left block, the drop step on the right block, and jump hooks when he flashes middle.
The site Cleaning the Glass confirms what the eye test shows: Vuc is averaging a career-usage rate. Amidst the myriad injuries the Magic have faced this season, Steve Clifford’s playbook has turned into a Notorious B.I.G. homage: give it to Vooch, give it to Vooch (he’s a bad bad bad).
Big up, big up, it’s a stick up, stick up and Vuc is shooting the ball quicker than a hiccup.
Per Synergy, Vucevic has been UNREAL at scoring attempts in the post when he’s HARD doubled: 1.909 points per possession (PPP) - that’s in the 100th percentile in the league.
He’s also been averaging a career best from deep: 41% on three point attempts on 6.3 (SIX POINT THREE!) per game. He’s been great at utilizing the pick & pop (1.136 PPP) but that number has cooled considerably as the season has rolled on.
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Photo from: https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/sports/magic-rally-to-beat-warriors/amp/