5 questions the Orlando Magic face in the second quarter of the 2021 season

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Nikola Vucevic, Orlando magic, Toronto Raptors
Nikola Vucevic and the Orlando Magic are struggling to do the basic things as their season begins to slip away. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

Can Nikola Vucevic keep up his All-Star pace?

The only bright spot for the Orlando Magic in this darkening season is Nikola Vucevic.

He was clearly the team’s first-quarter MVP, averaging 23.5 points per game and 11.1 rebounds per game with 3.7 assists per game while shooting 48.7-percent from the floor and 43.5-percent from beyond the arc. It was an incredible and inspiring run.

The only thing that might keep Vucevic from the All-Star Game at this point is the Magic’s sinking record. It is impossible to have an All-Star (save for Tracy McGrady getting voted in) from a team with a losing record.

To be sure, the Magic need Vucevic putting up these bonkers numbers from both inside and outside to have a chance to win. It is a lot of pressure.

Throughout his time in Orlando, Vucevic has been incredibly consistent. There is no denying how much the Magic rely on his 20 and 10 every night and try to fill in everything else around him.

He has taken his game up to another level this year. He scores 0.91 points per possession on post ups (he was at 0.82 last year on a lower frequency) and he averages a league-high 11.5 points per game on catch-and-shoot situations according to Second Spectrum with a stunning 59.9-percent effective field goal percentage.

Vucevic’s game has started to wane as the second quarter has begun. His poor performances against both the LA Clippers and Toronto Raptors kept the team from having any chance at winning.

Orlando needs Vucevic to be at his best at every moment of the game. That is a high bar for sure. But that is the burden of a star.

Watching the narrative on Vucevic change has been fascinating this season. Magic fans have come around to appreciating Vucevic and everything he has done for the team this year with the effort he has put in.

Somehow the team is asking a lot more from him than ever before. With all the injuries, a lot is falling on his shoulders to carry the team.