Denton: Nicholson Among Best PF's in Shooting Percentage

By John Denton
Dec. 15, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY – Among all NBA power forwards, Orlando’s Andrew Nicholson ranks 10th in 3-point shooting percentage. But of that top 10 only Nicholson and Atlanta’s Paul Millsap are also shooting at least 50 percent on all field goal tries.

It’s somewhat of rarified air for Nicholson, who is shooting better than 50 percent from the floor (50.5 percent) and better than 35 percent from 3-point range (36.7). After a highly efficient rookie season in which he shot the ball well from almost every spot on the floor, Nicholson worked all summer to expand his shooting range all the way out to the 3-point line.

He entered Sunday’s game against Oklahoma City shooting 62.7 percent on shots in the lane, 56.2 percent from the left block and 66.6 percent from the right block. And his work from the 3-point arc has been impressive with him making 10 of 30 shots (33.3 percent) from the left corner and seven of 15 3-pointers (46.6 percent) from the right corner.

Magic coach Jacque Vaughn, someone who greatly values efficiency on the court, said Nicholson’s steadiness on the offensive end and his improved rebounding and defense are earning him more playing time.

``For a coach, when I call his number I have extreme confidence that he’s going to produce something good for us. Even with his fellow teammates, you hear them on the bench, when he gets the ball in the post they want him to go to work,’’ Vaughn said. ``They feel that he will produce something good for us. His confidence is growing on his perimeter shot and I think he’s understanding his importance on the floor and how he can stay on the floor.’’

ADVICE FROM KD: Orlando guard Victor Oladipo and Oklahoma Thunder superstar Kevin Durant are miles apart in terms of NBA accomplishments. But both hail from the Washington, D.C. area, something that led to Durant taking a liking to the Magic rookie. The two met this past summer at a Durant basketball camp and the All-NBA star was quick to dispatch advice to the Orlando rookie.

``He told me to stay focused and keep working on my game and working hard,’’ Oladipo recalled. ``He said there are going to be some good days and some bad days, but you can never change your approach to the game and the way you prepare for it and how hard that you work.’’

Oladipo said he began following the career of Durant when the lanky 6-foot-10 forward was playing at the high school level and followed his career to the University of Texas and the NBA. He said this past summer’s camp was the first time that he met Durant, and the helpfulness of the star meant quite a bit to him.

``It was amazing for him to be able to talk to me,’’ Oladipo said. ``And for him to give me advice, it was kind of crazy. But at the same time, it’s humbling and nice for him to do. He didn’t have to do it, but he did it anyway.’’