Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
Orlando Pinstriped Post turns its attention to the 2012 NBA Draft with a look at mid-tier draft prospects who might be available when the Orlando Magic select 19th overall. Previously in the series: Meyers Leonard, Terrence Jones, Arnett Moultrie, Moe Harkless, Doron Lamb, Tony Wroten, and Jeffery Taylor.
To cap off his senior season with St. Bonaventure, big-man prospect Andrew Nicholson led the Bonnies to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in over a decade. He scored in double-figures 19 times in the team's final 20 games, with four outings of 30-plus points during that span.
With a 6-foot-10, 234-pound frame, as measured at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, Nicholson has the size of a prototypical NBA power forward, and could even shift to center if needed. As Derek Bodner of DraftExpress writes, Nicholson "differentiates himself" from other big-man prospects in the 2012 Draft with his play on the perimeter. "While not an exceptional athlete at the NBA level," says Bodner, "Nicholson is a fluid and mobile big man with a long first step and an intriguing skill-level that gives him the ability to make very impressive plays at times." Nicholson is able to face up and take opposing bigs off the dribble, finishing at the rim with length, Bodner says.
Nicholson's performance down the stretch of the 2012 season more than made up for his rough start to the campaign, which sluggishness hampered his Draft stock and raised questions about his so-called "motor" at the NBA level.
Why he fits for Orlando:
With the Orlando futures of Dwight Howard, Ryan Anderson, and Earl Clark uncertain, the Magic may find themselves needing Nicholson's services sooner rather than later. And at 22, he'll probably be able to contribute at the NBA level almost immediately. Further, Nicholson's facility with his dribble-drive game is a skill the Magic sorely lack at power forward, with Anderson, Clark, and Glen Davis needing improvement in that area.
Why he's not a fit for Orlando:
Given the Bonnies' lack of talent and placement in a weaker NCAA conference, it's tough to gauge what Nicholson's true ability is, which uncertainty makes him a bit of a risk, even with the 19th pick in the Draft. Will his skills translate to the NBA? And how much room for improvement does he have, given the fact that he'll turn 23 just over a month into the season? Another fact for Orlando to consider is that the wings and point-guard positions may be more pressing, from a roster standpoint.