Prior to Saturday night, the last time Nikola Vucevic scored a basket for an NBA team other than the Orlando Magic was April 26, 2012.
That changed on his very first possession as a member of the Chicago Bulls....
Vooch’s first points as a Bull... pic.twitter.com/PVHSyC1JsL— Orlando Pinstriped Post (@OPPMagicBlog) March 28, 2021
VOOCH HITS HIS FIRST BUCKET.— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) March 28, 2021
The Bulls, though, very much looked like a team unfamiliar with utilizing an All-Star center in what was a 120-104 loss to the Spurs.
Vooch was aggressive early on, taking three shot attempts in the opening 3:30. He finished the first quarter with four points on 2-for-3 shooting, missing his three-point attempt, as the Bulls fell behind by 13 in the first.
The Bulls didn’t feature Vucevic in the post very much in the first half, and he would attempt just one shot over his final 12:30 of playing time in the half, which would be unfathomable in Orlando. Vooch missed his only shot of the second quarter, finishing the half with four points and four rebounds on just four field goal attempts in 16 minutes.
The Bulls made just 3 of 19 attempts from three in the first half, for a low percentage that is painfully familiar to Vooch from his days in Orlando. At the other end, Chicago’s interior defense was not good, and the Bulls trailed 65-39 at the half.
Vooch became more of a focal point offensively in the third as the Bulls started to play through him. He knocked down his first three and went on to score eight points in the quarter on 3-for-7 shooting.
How it started: How it's going: pic.twitter.com/5KzIu1ycRi— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) March 28, 2021
There were some instances where Vooch was left alone behind the three-point line, situations where the Magic would always get him the ball, but the Bulls failed to do so. Coby White seemingly didn’t initially realize Vooch shoots over 40 percent from deep. That will change as they build chemistry and learn tendencies.
Still, Chicago made a big run to get back into the game after what was a 36-point deficit. Vooch drained a three out of the pick-and-roll with White to get the Bulls within single digits at 107-98 with about five minutes remaining.
But that was as close as they’d get. Vucevic finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. He shot 9-for-16 from the field, making 2 of 4 attempts from deep.
Solid Bulls debut for Vooch.— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) March 28, 2021
21 points | 9-16 FG | 9 reb | 4 ast pic.twitter.com/IsLufcgf1s
Oh, and Al-Farouq Aminu had 2 points and 5 rebounds in 12 minutes off the bench in case you were wondering.
Chicago didn’t see the best version of Vooch, but that will come with time. Overall, a decent debut considering Vucevic didn’t get any practice time in with the Bulls.
Here’s a look at how the other players who are deserving of a spot on the Magic’s Mount Rushmore fared in their debut with their new teams:
Lakers 96, Suns 82
November 1, 1996
Shaq: 23 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 8-for-10 FG
Suns 84, 76ers 80
November 4, 1999
Penny: 18 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, 5-for-14 FG
Pistons 87, Rocket 79
November 2, 2004
T-Mac: 18 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 6-for-18 FG
Mavericks 99, Lakers 91
October 30, 2012
Dwight: 19 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 8-for-12. FG