February 10, 2013; Orlando FL, USA; Orlando Magic power forward Andrew Nicholson (44) reacts after he made a basket against the Portland Trail Blazers during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NBA All-Star Weekend 2013: Orlando Magic’s Nikola Vucevic and Andrew Nicholson Excited For Rising Stars Challenge


Feb 01, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) warms up before the start of the game against the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Vucevic has emerged as one of the league’s best young centers, and rookie Andrew Nicholson is quietly developing at a nice pace for a late first round NBA draft pick. The duo has thrived despite the Magic’s struggles this season, and they’re excited about the chance to showcase their talents in the Rising Stars Challenge on Feb. 15.

Vucevic and Nicholson won’t be playing for the same team this Saturday, however. And that actually excites them. Vucevic will play for “Team Chuck,” while Nicholson takes his talents to former Magic player Shaquille O’Neal’s squad.

“It’ll be pretty fun. We go up against each other in practice all the time,” Nicholson told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. “It’d definitely be pretty exciting to do that on a stage as big as that.”

Vucevic added that he and Nicholson have made a pact to “let each other score, because (they’re) not going to get the ball (a lot)…I’ve got to let him score once, and he has to let me score once.”

While I’m hardly a fan of players tanking to showcase their talents, Nik’s sentiments are understandable in a game that’s dominated by perimeter players. “We’re big men, and it’s more of a guard game,” Vucevic said.

It should be exciting to see two of the Magic’s best young players square off, even if they are going to give each other a bucket.

Tags: All-Star Weekend 2013 Andrew Nicholson NBA Rising Stars Challenge Nikola Vucevic Orlando Magic Team Chuck Team Shaq