PHILADELPHIA — Confidence often leads to success, and a renewed sense of confidence has helped Orlando Magic center Nik Vucevic make a quantum leap with his game this season.
Vucevic spent his rookie year in 2011-12 with the Philadelphia 76ers, and he acknowledged today that he didn’t play to his standards. He also indicated that his confidence was shaken a bit by not receiving consistent playing time. In 13 postseason games, he only played a total of three minutes.
Today, Vucevic was asked whether he felt like he had something to prove this season because of the trade.
“Not just because of the trade, but I knew that I could do better than I did my first year,” he said. “I knew I was capable of doing that. I just wanted to get a chance and prove it to people.
“This year, I have an opportunity to play with a coach who believed in me and gave me a lot of minutes, and my teammates believe in me. At the beginning of the year, I was trying to get my confidence back. Once I got that, now it’s a lot better, I could play more confident. It’s a lot easier now.”
Vucevic is averaging 12.1 points per game and ranks fifth in the league in rebounding, averaging 11.3 boards per game.
His former teammates have noticed his improvement.
“As a rookie, I think he showed a lot of signs of how good of a player he can be,” Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday said.
“He’s scoring from anywhere. He’s boarding like a madman.”
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times