2013 NBA Draft: Orlando Magic’s Development of Nikola Vucevic Making Marcus Smart Look Like Best Option

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February 10, 2013; Orlando FL, USA; Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) slam dunks against the Portland Trail Blazers during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As good as Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic has been, it almost seems preemptive to assume the Magic will go with a perimeter player like Ben McLemore or Shabazz Muhammad in the NBA Draft.  Vucevic is the NBA’s fourth leading rebounder, averaging a double-double, and he set an Orlando Magic single game record for rebounds (26) against the Miami Heat this season.

Drafting one of the elite centers in the draft doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, with Nerlens Noel, Cody Zeller and Alex Len all expected to go in the top-5.

The 2013 NBA Draft is heavy in big men and light in point guards and swingmen.

Yes, going big is still an option.  The Magic could put out a twin towers lineup, but Andrew Nicholson is making a strong push to be an NBA starting power forward, and his promise is not going unnoticed, with Nicholson selected to replace Andre Drummond in the Rising Stars Challenge on All-Star weekend.

So where do the Magic upgrade?

The oldest player and most logical to replace is 31 year old Jameer Nelson.

Feb 9, 2013; Austin, TX, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Marcus Smart (33) reacts against the Texas Longhorns during the second half at the Frank Erwin Special Events Center. Oklahoma State beat Texas 72-59. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Accordingly, point guard Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State has to look like the wisest pick at this point.

Fittingly, NBADraft.net has the Magic slotted to take Smart third overall, and that’s consistently been a good site for draft projections. If the Magic acquired the 6’4″ guard who NBADraft.net compares to James Harden, they would be able to start five guys whose average age balances out to 24 years of age.

If Smart is as good as billed, the Magic would be quickly back on the road to contention, but still likely lottery-bound in 2014 and owed multiple picks as a result of the Dwight Howard trade.

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Tags: 2013 NBA Draft 2014 NBA Draft Jabari Parker Jameer Nelson Marcus Smart Nikola Vucevic Oklahoma State Orlando Magic Shabazz Muhammad