Orlando Magic 35th Anniversary: 35 best players in Magic history
6. Nikola Vucevic (2013-21)
By Patrick Previty
When you think of the 2010s Orlando Magic, you think of Nikola Vucevic.
Coming over from the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the Dwight Howard trade back in 2012, Nikola Vucevic was the team leader and franchise player for the better part of a decade.
During his time with the Magic, Vucevic was a two-time All-Star, played the fourth-most games in franchise history, and is currently the franchise leader in field goals. He amassed more than 10,000 points, 6,000 rebounds and 1,500 assists.
Unfortunately under constantly unfavorable circumstances, the Magic did not have the breakthrough success they would have hoped for under the sixth-best player — by our estimation — in Magic History.
In his almost nine years with the Magic, they only made the playoffs twice. But it was perhaps more so his reliability and length of tenure that sets him apart.
Vucevic was the anchor down low that young fans could associate the team with while also being a consummate professional through the losing seasons. Then, when the Magic did experience some success by making the postseason, he was also stepping up his performance.
In 2019, Vucevic averaged a then career-high in points and rebounds which propelled the Magic into the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
In 2021, Vucevic was traded 44 games into his second All-Star campaign in a move that reset the franchise.
This trade, among others that included guys from that era, effectively sent the Magic into the place they are now with one of the better young cores in the NBA.
But Vucevic’s place in Magic history will not be forgotten as he is one of the most important players to ever put on the uniform.