Daniel Shirley/USA TODAY
The Magic were lacking something next to Nikola Vucevic.
Jason Maxiell provided some grit on defense, but little in the way of offense. Andrew Nicholson has the offense and improved defensive play, but still struggles as the full-time guy as he has gone in and out of the rotation so far in the early season.
As poor of an answer it might be, the best option next to Nikola Vucevic on this roster is Glen Davis. And his absence because of a broken foot last year changed the Magic's season -- they won just eight games after his initial shoulder injury in mid-December -- and his absence at the beginning of this season left Orlando scrambling.
When he finally returned a few weeks ago against the Heat, it was a welcome sight for just about everyone. His veteran leadership and particularly his defensive instincts were things the Magic needed to return.
"Glen is an experienced defender," Jacque Vaughn said. "A lot of time just being in the right place in rotations, being in the right place in pick an roll coverage and then the physicality of helping Nik rebound the basketball. Those things add up over the course of a game."
The problem is they have not quite added up yet as Davis works his way back into playing shape and into the rhythm of the season.
According to NBA.com, the Magic have a horrid defensive rate of 107.6 with Glen Davis on the floor and a 98.2 offensive rate. With Davis off the floor, it is a slightly better 99.9 offensive rating and a still-not-great 102.5 defensive rating. It appears nine games is not enough for Davis to get his timing back, especially since Nikola Vucevic has missed three of those nine games.no comments