Nikola Vucevic is one who got away for Sixers

Nikola Vucevic
Nikola Vucevic is developing into a star in Orlando.
Credit: Getty Images

The 76ers went for the big splash.

At the time, sending Nikola Vucevic to the Orlando Magic as part of a deal to acquire Andrew Bynum seemed like the right idea.

No one knew Bynum would never play a game for the Sixers because of bilateral bone bruises in both knees.

No one knew that Vucevic would develop into a double-double machine.

Or did they?

“I always thought if I could get consistent minutes, I could put up numbers and help my team win,” Vucevic said Tuesday night as the Magic visited Wells Fargo Arena. “I just needed to play every night.”

That wasn’t happening under former Sixers coach Doug Collins.

When the blockbuster trade was completed between four teams before last season, Vucevic began to flourish with the Magic. As he continued to play well, the questions came about the 16th-overall pick in the 2011 draft.

“Reporters would ask me and I would always say the same thing,” Vucevic said. “It’s playing time. I always had confidence in my ability. Knowing you’re going to be on the court helps a lot. Then you have to produce and my teammates have done a great job here keeping me real involved in the offense. I think all facets of my game have improved, though. I feel like my defense has come a really long way.”

Vucevic missed Tuesday’s game against the Sixers with an injured ankle. But there are many games ahead to continue proving his mettle.

“I don’t take things personally and I don’t blame the Sixers because they made a decision,” Vucevic said. “It sent me to a great place and I like everything about where I am with the Magic. It’s a great organization. I feel very lucky to be there. I feel my game is improving all the time.”

So do his teammates.

“Nik is so consistent,” said guard Arron Afflalo, who scored a career-high 43 points against the Sixers. “He’s a great shooter and he has a great feel around the basket. On defense, he plugs the middle and blocks shots. He’s a budding star if you ask me. He’s a team guy and will do anything to win. For such a young player, he’s very poised.”

But Vucevic said he fully expected to remain with the Sixers.

When they went for the big splash with Bynum and it backfired, Vucevic ultimately wound up with the Magic.

“I’m very glad to be here,” Vucevic said. “The Sixers made a business decision. For me as a player, I knew I had to come in and work hard. I got minutes. That’s what really helped. I hope to be here for a long, long time.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…