No matter what trade shuffling occurs at the hands of Rob Hennigan in the next few days, one thing is relatively certain and that's Henny has a 22-year-old second year center and a 23-year-old rookie Canadian power forward as part of his cement mixture in filling the foundation of this franchise's future. Nikola Vucevic and Andrew Nicholson have made Magic fans proud at a time where being 15-37 doesn't provide much solace for smiling. Both big men were genuinely thrilled to be at All-Star Weekend.
We can thank the Magic's Communications Manager, Melanie Curtsinger, for providing pictures and insight into Nik and Nich's eventful weekend that included practices, NBA Cares community service duty, and of course the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. Otherwise we would've missed out on a lot of details.
As for actual in-game performances, both Nicholson and Vucevic confirmed that they would at least allow the other guy to score once on them. Well let's just say defensive intensity was allowed to be lacking for one evening as Andrew and Nikola guarded each other on numerous occasions. 'Vucci Mane' and 'Team Chuck' annihilated Andrew Nicholson and 'Team Shaq' 163-135 as numerous records were broken in this contest.
In just under 20 minutes off the bench, Vucevic posted a superb 15 points and 4 rebounds. Nikola was even 1-for-1 from 3-point range. 'Vooch' even nailed a silky smooth running left hook. Nicholson only managed 9:31 of game action but mustered an efficient 6-point, 3-rebound outing. A few of his buckets were dunks past the defensively uninterested Vucevic. We can thank Orlando Pinstripe Post's Evan Dunlap for creating a highlight package of Nik and 'Drew. It's hilarious to see 'Vooch' attempt a teabag on Nicholson following a rare alley oop jam finish from the Montenegrin. All in the spirit of fun.
Vucevic had alluded going into the trip that he was going to shoot at least one 3-pointer, and if he made one that he wanted Coach Jacque Vaughn to draw up some 3-point plays for him. We'll see if 'JV' holds up his end of the so called bargain.
Nik not only maneuvered well around the court, Vucevic was able to zig-zag through trick questions during interview sessions. Vooch has the demeanor of a veteran and has no problem going in-depth with a response to a question. The goal was to not seem brain-dead like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Mission accomplished.
Ever since getting snubbed from the Rising Stars contest, Andrew Nicholson has learned to open up a bit more with the media. Then the basketball gods gave him the opportunity to replace Andre Drummond almost as a reward for having some fun behind the microphone and smiling in front of the cameras. There are 30 games remaining in this 2012-2013 regular season. The goal going forward is for Nik and Andrew to continue developing their games, especially on defense, and to grow their confidence as starters to where they're demanding the ball more.