With the start of the regular season less than one month away, we wrap up a five-part series looking at the 2013-14 Orlando Magic by position. After just a 20-62 finish a season ago, the Magic are looking to continue their rebuilding process. For the final part of the series, here is a look at what Orlando will look like at the center position this upcoming season:
There is no doubt as to whom will start at center for the Magic this season as Nikola Vucevic enters his second season with the club. Vucevic was acquired from Philadelphia in the Dwight Howard deal prior to last season and now looks to be the franchise center for Orlando.
At 7'0" from Switzerland, Vucevic finished second in the NBA last season in rebounding behind only Dwight Howard averaging 11.9 rebounds-per-game. Vucevic was also one of only eight players a season ago to average a double-double adding more than 13 points-per-game to his nearly 12 rebounds.
While Vucevic doesn't quite possess the athletic ability that Howard had, Vucevic has decent range and touch on his jumper which forces bigger defenders away from the rim. From the field, Vucevic shot 52 percent a season ago and 68 percent from the free throw line.
In 77 games with the Magic last season, Vucevic recorded 45 double-doubles including a 20-point, 29-rebound effort on New Year's Eve against the eventual NBA champion Miami Heat. The 29 rebounds in that contest was a franchise record.
While Vucevic is without a doubt Orlando' starting center and hopefully for the Magic, center of the future, Vucevic's backup remains largely unknown.
Veterans Glen Davis and offseason acquisition Jason Maxiell are certainly capable of playing the position, but if the Magic look to go younger, Kyle O'Quinn could get the nod.
O'Quinn, a second-year man out of Norfolk State has decent range and is as blue collar as they come inside. Davis can also stretch the floor for the Magic, but will likely spend the majority of his minutes at the power forward position. Maxiell is more of a defensive specialist and has a very limited offensive game, but will help bring leadership and a winning history to Orlando.
While Dwight Howard's days in Orlando are now long gone, finding his replacement has come quicker than most would have thought for the Magic. Nikola Vucevic has already blossomed into one of the bright young centers in the NBA and could make a push for an All-Star spot this season. In a guard-oriented league, franchise centers have become rare, but the Magic believe that they have found one in Vucevic.