Film Room: Nikola Vucevic's Passing Has Been Terrific

By Josh Cohen
March 25, 2017

The Orlando Magic matched a season high in Friday’s win over the Detroit Pistons with 36 assists.

Since acquiring Terrence Ross in mid-February, the Magic have had outstanding chemistry and have played unselfishly and cohesively.

While everyone has done their part, Nikola Vucevic’s playmaking and facilitating has perhaps stood out the most. Over the last six games, Vucevic ranks fourth among all centers with 26 assists. He has displayed excellent court vision, awareness and instincts. He nearly recorded a triple-double against the Hornets.

Most impressive, perhaps, is Vucevic’s ability to make effective passes regardless of where he’s positioned on the court. He’s very alert when he posts up and a double team comes. He’s swift and intuitive when the ball swings around the arc or when a teammate cuts down the lane. And he’s very good in dribble handoffs (usually sets a hard screen to give teammate space to get shot off).

It’s become very clear that Vucevic has more impact when he’s the only true big man on the floor. Since the Magic have shifted to a small-ball lineup, Vucevic’s statistics have improved significantly. He’s averaging 18.8 points since the All-Star break (13.9 before) and he’s attempting more free throws and grabbing more rebounds.

Vucevic makes smart plays and he’s a reliable secondary playmaking option when the ball is not in Elfrid Payton’s hands.

Below are three terrific plays from the win over the Pistons that highlight Vucevic’s passing abilities.