Orlando Magic fans have paid close attention to Andrew Nicholson's minutes in his second professional season. The St. Bonaventure product was one of the few bright spots for the league's worst team in the 2012/13 season, ranking second on the team in per-minute scoring and first in True Shooting percentage. After an offseason to strengthen his body and improve his defense and rebounding, the team's fans hoped he'd take another step forward.
Instead, Nicholson has plateaued, and as Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel notes, his January average of 10.1 minutes per game was the lowest of any month in his pro career. Robbins' report includes an explanation from coach Jacque Vaughn for Nicholson's reduced role.
"It's tough finding the right matchup and finding what's going to be conducive to our success," Vaughn said. According to Robbins, Vaughn "is reluctant to match Nicholson against quick or physical power forwards."
As two cases in point, consider the Miami Heat's two visits to Amway Center in the 2013/14 season. Nicholson played only the final 5:55 in the first game because Vaughn didn't want him matched up against Michael Beasley. Nicholson started the next meeting against Rashard Lewis, but Vaughn pulled him for good after 6:32. Both power forwards present problems because of their quickness. Robbins' story includes a note about Nicholson's defense against Boston Celtics big man Brandon Bass, a significantly more physical player than Lewis or Beasley, on Sunday.
In 16.3 minutes per game--down from 16.7 as a rookie--Nicholson is averaging 6.4 points and 3.9 rebounds on 43.5 percent shooting.