The pending return of power forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis to the Magic’s lineup means a lot of things – more offense, more defense, more intensity. Maybe more wins.

Will it also mean less of second-year center Nik Vucevic?

How Davis’ return affects the ever-improving Vucevic is the question that rookie coach Jacque Vaughn has to address.

Vucevic has played the best basketball of his career after Big Baby injured his shoulder on Dec. 19, against the Wizards.

In the 11 games that Big Baby has missed, Vucevic has averaged 14.4 points and 14.7 rebounds, including a single-game franchise-record 29 boards against the Heat.

Playing alongside Davis in 25 games, Vucevic averaged 10.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

Nik has become a rebounding machine – obviously needing to grab boards with Davis in street clothes – and, more importantly, he has gained confidence and much-needed consistency.

He can’t lose that when Davis returns. He practiced with the team Sunday on a limited basis.

Nik’s rebounding and scoring numbers will obviously drop with Davis playing the paint. That’s expected.

Vucevic just can’t turn into a spectator offensively when Big Baby is on the floor. He doesn’t have a forceful personality and has a tendency to be a pass-first center as it is.Davis has just the opposite make-up.

Vaughn needs to keep making Vucevic a focus and encouraging his aggressiveness. If that means reducing Davis’ workload and getting his perimeter players to work the ball inside-out more with Vucevic, so be it.

This is what player-development is all about, especially with the Magic having no realistic shot at reaching the playoffs after a 10-game losing streak, the slide coming in Davis’ absence.

But Vucevic is a key piece in the rebuild, a skilled big who can become the Magic’s center of the future.

Player development isn’t only reflected in minutes or starts for youngsters, but learning during game situations, working against the best, night in and night out.

This plan would be a big test of Davis’s new-found maturity when he returns.

Glen has been a focal point for the first time in his career and has responded well – on and off the court. He’s getting shots --- 15 a game – and relishes the opportunity. His season has been drama-free, but will it be if some of his shot attempts go to Nik?

The Magic were 0-10 without Davis until upsetting the L.A. Clippers Saturday afternoon. He’s already showed his value to the team.

Now Glen can show why the club had enough faith to name him a co-captain.

Big Baby can now make his biggest contribution to the team yet, proving that he has grown as a leader by helping Vucevic’s growth.

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