The Magic still miss Dwight Howard -- no matter what Phoenix Suns space cadet Michael Beasley says.

"It might better for them that they don't have Dwight Howard," Beasley said after the Magic dismantled the Suns on Sunday night. "They got 20 from (Arron) Afflalo, 20 from (J.J.) Redick and 20 from Big Baby (Glen Davis). Their all-around scoring is bettter.

"When Dwight was here, that wasn't necessarily the case. The way they moved the ball, the way they are sharing the ball and playing together...that's why they beat us."

Well, true. But for Beasley to suggest the Magic might be better off without Dwight....well, the NBA needs to see if he's still smoking herb.

Which brings us to the guy who took over at Dwight's old spot: Nik Vucevic.

It will be a storyline all season.

If Vucevic, 21, can give the Magic what he gave them more nights than not --18 points and 13 rebounds -- Howard's absence wouldn't be so glaringly obvious.

Vucevic bounced back from being a non-factor in the opener against Denver, when he got into foul trouble.

He had foul trouble again against the Suns, but coach Jacque Vaughn went back to him to cool off Luis Scola when Glen Davis picked up his third foul.

"I think the glaring importance tonight was how big he is," Vaughn said of Vucevic. "Scola got rolling a little bit and Glen had three fouls and I put Nik on Scola and he did two things. He rebounded the ball for us and I think he did a pretty good job of guarding Scola, so that was a momentum-stopper.

"The points, the screens...all that he's going to do. The ability to be a big for us and be a defensive-stopper, boy, that was fun to see from him."

Brian Schmitz is the Magic Insider for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him at And you can follow him on Twitter at