With the 19th overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic selected St. Bonaventure power forward Andrew Nicholson.
Nicholson spent all four years in college and was the Atlantic-10 Player of the Year this season. Nicholson burst on to the national scene after leading St. Bonaventure to the Atlantic-10 tournament championship, earning a spot in the NCAA tournament. The Bonnies were eliminated by Florida State, but had a strong showing. holding a second half lead.
Over the course of Nicholson’s career, he averaged 17.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.
Last year, Nicholson said his best and most consistent season. He went for 18.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. His shooting numbers were just as impressive. Nicholson shot 43.4% from beyond the arc, 77.6% from the free throw line, posted an effective field goal percentage of 60.1% and a true shooting percentage of 63.7%. His three-point shooting could be quite the asset either playing behind Ryan Anderson or if Anderson winds up moving on (he will start restricted free agency Sunday), especially if Dwight Howard remains with the team.
Clearly, Nicholson has great range and has decent size at well. Nicholson is 6’9.5 in shoes and weighs 250 lbs.
Although he’s not a terrific athlete, Nicholson showed a good ability to put the ball on the floor. Not only are those handles a huge asset for a guy that back, but with his three-point range, being able to pump fake and get open looks.
Nicholson told the media the Magic really liked his “versatility.”
If Nicholson is going to give the Magic more minutes inside, he’s going to have to get stronger and admitted as much during his conference call with the team just after being drafted. Nicholson even admitted he had never hit the weight room before getting to St. Bonaventure.
Derek Bodner of Draft Express is also worried about his defense on the next level, writing “Nicholson’s physical profile presents some potential problems, which are further increased by his inconsistent effort on that end of the court. Nicholson has the length and timing needed to contest and block shots, and because of that can be a useful defender at the collegiate level. At a wiry 220 pounds, he lacks the lower and upper body strength to hold his ground at the next level, and he doesn’t do a good job of fighting for position early in the shot clock to make up for that.”
The Magic surely would like to see him rebound the ball better and he’s already shown some improvement in that department. His length (he measured in with a wing span of 7’4) certainly leaves plenty of room for improvement, not only as a rebounder, but as a defender).
Nicholson’s development isn’t as far along as normal four-year college player, because he didn’t start playing basketball until his junior year of high school.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)