Zach Oliver empties the notebook following the Orlando Magic's shootaround Wednesday morning. - ED
Vučević continues improvement
Heading into his fourth season in the league, big man Nikola Vučević continues his steady growth. From being mainly a jump shooting big man when he joined the team, to now possessing an array of moves on the block, Vučević's game has seen exponential amounts of growth in his few years with the team.
Head coach Jacque Vaughn was complimentary of the Magic's man in the middle when asked about his growth during shootaround Wednesday morning. "Extremely grown in a lot of different ways," said Vaughn. "I think he's a very intelligent basketball player, and he's able to use that on both ends of the floor." Vaughn also said he "tremendously enjoys" coaching the seven-footer.
"I feel a lot more comfortable [on the block]," said Vučević. "Just playing there more the last two years, being in different situations, I really think that helped me a lot. Over the summer I watched film, worked on my game a lot, and it feels like the game has slowed down for me to where I see stuff better, read the defense better, but also a lot of it comes with experience, which I got from playing so many minutes in many games the last few seasons. I just want to keep working, keep getting better. With the amount of work I put in, I'm only going to get better as I get older, get more experience."
After agreeing to an extension with the team on Tuesday, Vučević can go and focus on the basketball side, and continue to work and grow as a player. He's still only 23, so he has a lot of time, and room to continue to grow, and potentially turn into one of the best center in the league.
Oladipo on comeback trail
After suffering a sprained MCL early in training camp, guard Victor Oladipo seems to be inching closer to a return. Oladipo, who suffered the injury just a day after Channing Frye went down with a sprained MCL of his own, says he's taking it "day-by-day" still.
Oladipo has been slowly ramping up his workouts, which have included some running, cutting, and taking jumpers. During the team's open practice on Monday, Oladipo was seen flying high, throwing down a few highlight dunks for the fans in attendance.
The second-year guard it taking it slowly, but is ready for the workouts to become more intense, in hopes that he can be ready for the team's season-opener October 28th in New Orleans. Oladipo admitted that while missing games isn't ideal, the time on the sidelines has offered him a good learning experience. He also had high praise for the team's training staff, who have put in a lot of work to help get him healthy, and stronger.
It's clear that the team, and Oladipo, are taking their time to make sure this injury isn't one that lingers too far into the season. If Oladipo ends up missing a few games early, so be it. His long-term health and productivity on the court are much more important.