Fran Vazquez is not coming over to the Magic this year. The 7-foot center ..."/> Fran Vazquez is not coming over to the Magic this year. The 7-foot center ..."/>

What About Milovan Rakovic?


We know Fran Vazquez is not coming over to the Magic this year. The 7-foot center Orlando used the No. 11 pick on in 2005 has teased and toyed the Magic for the better part of six years and seemed finally willing to come over. The lockout scared him away and he decided to return to Regal Barcelona for one more year and then tease the Magic once again.

Our good friend Woody Wommack had a great article in the Naples Daily News last week profiling Naples native and Magic direct of international scouting Sam Foggin. Foggin was at the forefront of the Magic’s draft effort as Otis Smith and his team relied entirely on game film and performance to make the decision to draft Justin Harper and DeAndre Liggins. Harper was one of Foggin’s scouting trips this year.

Foggin’s job entails scouting international prospects as well as a few domestic college prospects. He was integral in scouting Vazquez, whom the Magic also drafted without bringing in for a workout or an interview because he slipped to them at 11. Again, I urge patience, we still do not know what type of player Vazquez can be when he comes over.

And it is looking like it is going to be a when and not an if. Foggin told Wommack Vazquez was set to come over before the lockout made him decide to wait one more year. Call that naive, but that is his story.

“His contract was up and we were hoping to get him, but he has to look after his own interests,” Foggin said. “He signed a one-year deal with Barcelona, and we’re hoping that in a year’s time we can come to terms with Fran. He wants to come. He was committed to come, but for reasons outside of our control it didn’t work out. … He was offered a multi-year deal by Barcelona and turned it down, which is rare. Hopefully for the 2012-13 season, he’ll be a member of the Magic.”

We can hope.

But Foggin was also integral in the scouting of another player the Magic have stashed overseas, little-known 6-foot-10 big man Milovan Rakovic. He was the 60th pick by the Mavericks in 2007 and the Magic acquired him for cash. He has spent most of his career playing for Spartak Saint Petersburg and signed with Montepaschi Siena of the Italian League in 2010.

Foggin said Rakovic is further along than a lot of people think and certainly farther along than some of the European players selected late in this year’s draft.

“Three years ago, we took Milovan Rakovic with the 60th pick. He was a proven Serbian big guy who now makes a million dollars a year, and will probably make an NBA team when he’s finished with his contract. That’s a great example of a guy you can get late. Were any of the guys taken late in the second round even reminiscent of Rakovic? What did they see? We don’t look at wasting picks late in the draft. We treat it like a serious business transaction.”

Of course, Rakovic is still in Italy and not in the NBA with the Magic. He has played in the Orlando Summer League before with little effect or impact and little hope of coming over to the NBA (mostly because he was not ready).

Rakovic helped Montepaschi to a Serie A championship. He averaged 8.0 points per game and 3.8 rebounds per game in about 17.5 minutes per game during Euroleague last season, posting a 55.3 percent true shooting percentage and started in all 22 games he played in.

At 26, Rakovic’s time to blossom is coming. I do not know how much hope the Magic have of him being ready for the NBA or wanting to come over. But he is an asset Orlando still has available for use at some point in the future.

Foggin seems to believe Rakovic is a guy that can come to the NBA and make a team (whether that team is the Magic is another question). His stats suggest he is limited offensively and an improving rebounder in European play. He has his big moments — his career high is 16 points scored against Efes Pilsen of Turkey in January.

Only time will tell us if Rakovic will be on the Magic someday.

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