Andrew Nicholson’s NBA Future (Q & A)

Nicholson may as well be surrendering to playing in Orlando because it's been a nightmare for #44.

Nicholson may as well be surrendering to playing in Orlando because it’s been a nightmare for #44.

With the NBA trade deadline coming up and the Orlando Magic finally firing the NBA’s answer to Anthony Solomon in Jacque Vaughn, AND so many Bonnies fans wondering about the future of #44 I felt inclined to put my journalist   blogger hat on and go get some answers. I am a man of the people, here to serve.

So I did just that. I reached out to one Philip Rossman-Reich- the premier blogger for to have him give us a real, FAIR and UNBIASED look at Andrew Nicholson’s career thus far and what may lie ahead for him in the future. We all knocked Vaughn (and rightfully so) but once and while I did think to myself, “Maybe Drew just isn’t that good?” But, like anyone whose about to have a medical procedure done, I did the wise thing and got a second opinion.

His answers are below….the long and short of it: Nicholson’s future looks bleak, and he should hope to God he gets traded somewhere (which we kinda figured, my fingers are crossed for a deal to the 76ers).

1.Trade deadline is fast approaching. Do you think AN gets traded? If not, what is his short and long term future with the team? Do you think the Magic are shopping him or does he have no value at this point?

Andrew Nicholson’s trade value is very difficult to gauge. There is no other way to put it. There are probably those in the organization that believe he can still be a good player in this league. His offensive game is still something that can be valued and he continues to develop as a stretch-4 with his 3-point shooting. But he simply has not played enough for any other team to get a good sense of what his worth might be. Or meet the Magic’s asking price.

If the Magic could get something for Nicholson, I am sure they would. But they’re probably value him a bit more than other teams right now. So the asking price is high. He is kind of stuck where he is at for the moment. He just has to scratch out some playing time and make the most of his opportunity when it comes.

2. It seemed like the Magic’s GM was pretty high on AN when he drafted him (obviously). Did Vaughn not care of his game as much or did both sour on him?

I think the Magic are still pretty high on Nicholson and still believe he can deliver something. His post game is a unique skill in the modern NBA and he has shown he can step out and hit the 3-pointer. Offensively, he can hang in the league. His defense is where he still needs work.

Ultimately, that is why he could not get playing time. Jacque Vaughn just never quite trusted him defensively. And then his offensive game seemed to sour. He lost faith in his post game as Vaughn had him playing more of the stretch-4 role as a shooter almost exclusively. It was disappointing to see Vaughn use him this way as it shot his confidence. When you watched Nicholson play for Canada, he showed all the skills that made him a NBA player, a solid post game and a jumper to keep defenses honest.

Vaughn was not the right coach for him at the end of the day. He was not the right coach for the entire team. While key players showed plenty of progress and got plenty of run, Nicholson was pigeon-holed into a role he ultimately could not fulfill. Vaughn failed, like he had with a lot of players on the court, to put them in their best positions to succeed. Since Nicholson’s rookie year, he was trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

This guy is a clown. Anyone who watched the Magic for five minutes starting in 2012 knew Vaugn was the NBA's answer to Anthony Solomon.

This guy is a clown. Anyone who watched the Magic for five minutes starting in 2012 knew Vaugn was the NBA’s answer to Anthony Solomon.

3. The magic are loaded at the PF. if Drew was traded/released/ etc. do you think he could catch on with a team less deep at the four given what you’ve seen or are you with them in thinking he’s an NBA scrub?

I think Nicholson will get a second look somewhere in the NBA. His post skills are too good and his talent is too intriguing. He may have to start at the end of the bench somewhere and work his way up. He will have to prove himself yet again. And likely on a small contract.

Of course, the Magic could hire a new coach and find the way to use him correctly. Orlando does not really have a clear direction right now and so the team is not in any position to discard a potential asset. The Magic picked up his option for next year, so he will have a chance to show himself to a new coaching staff.

4. Ultimately, why hasn’t AN succeeded in the NBA as a top 20 draft pick?

Nicholson ultimately has lost playing time because he struggles on the defensive end. The Magic have this problem of having a lot of slow big men that struggle to rotate and cannot protect the rim. Unlike Channing Frye or Nikola Vucevic, Nicholson has not been able to hide his defensive shortcomings with his offense. 

Nicholson’s confidence on the floor just cratered after his rookie season and as he got moved farther and farther away from the basket. Whoever has him has to find a way to rebuild his confidence in meaningful minutes. That might mean accepting a D-League stint or playing elsewhere to regain that confidence. The FIBA/international game seems to fit Nicholson a lot better. His future might end up being there.

5. Have you heard anything negative about AN off the floor? Anything else that could be contributing to his lack of playtime?

There really is nothing negative about Andrew Nicholson out there. Part of it is the minutes squeeze at power forward that you mentioned. Channing Frye starts and Tobias Harris, Kyle O’Quinn and Aaron Gordon all platoon at that spot. O’Quinn has produced and plays solid defense and so he has beaten out Nicholson for those minutes.

The only thing that can be said about Nicholson, perhaps, is that he is too smart for his own good. Paul Shirley noted this in his book “Can I Keep My Jersey?” Guys who are really intellectually smart (Shirley was an engineering major at Iowa State) often play less on instinct and need time to think and analyze rather than just doing. They also tend to question what is going on a bit more. 

I am not saying Andrew has done any of this. But he certainly doe snot have the speed or athleticism to afford to do it. So if he is, it does not help. The NBA is a much faster, much more physical game than college. You need more than YMCA moves.

Nicholson clearly has the talent. It is just about finding the right situation. The situation with Jacque Vaughn was simply not working. He cannot deliver what was being asked of him. Maybe the question needed to change.

6. If you had to guess what AN’s NBA future holds say 18 months from now what would you guess? 

The Magic are sure to make plenty of moves this offseason. They want to get to the Playoffs in 2016. That means Nicholson, who is under contract and could become a restricted free agent after next season, could very well be in play as a throw in to a trade. In 18 months when Nicholson hits free agency for the first time, I suspect he will be playing for a different team, having been traded to help the Magic acquire some other asset.

Hopefully that situation and that coach proves to be a better fit for Nicholson than it has been in Orlando.

Posley, Posley, Posley (Video/Interview)

Somewhere in that mess is Marcus Posley...and the Blog staff...

Somewhere in that mess is Marcus Posley…and the Blog staff…

Marcus Posley has been a very busy man since Saturday night, garnering all sorts of awards and honors following his back to back buzzer beater week.

He was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Week for the second time this season, was named the USBWA’s Player of the Week, was named CBS Sports Player of the week and is in the running to become the Capitol One Player of the Week (Posley also picked up some kind words from ESPN and USA Today…and the Intrepid!). Additionally, Posley’s lay-up was a Top 10 play on SportsCenter Sunday morning. Somehow, the man had time to do an interview with Campus Insiders to talk about all that and more. The video is below. The blog was disappointed on two fronts though during the video.

Posley Chats with Campus Insiders

1. The hosts mis pronunciation of Olean…she called it O-leen. Come on, you’re better than that!

2.They asked Posley if he’s picked up any new nicknames since Saturday night. He did not mention our “Sandman” idea which we through out Sunday morning…that stings. The team does call him MP3 however which isn’t bad either.

Finally here is a great video the Athletic Department put together showing Posley’s heroic efforts starting with the end of the Duquesne game a few weeks back…what a ride it’s been. Honestly three wins are as a good, exciting wins as I can recall this team having in a single season. I’ll never get tired of watching these finishes time and time again.


Finally, there’s been a lot of talk on the Wagon about “well if we had only won X game or Y game we’d be a bubble team.” I’d like to address that here because it kind of drives me nuts.

Listen, any team in the country can play that game all day and night. If we won these four one possession games. If we got two calls vs. this team. If our starting PG wasn’t out for two weeks…If, if if….. What IF we didn’t have a one in a hundred comeback vs. Duquesne? What if Posley’s runner vs. Davidson bounces high and out? What if he doesn’t score vs. VCU and we lose in OT? Our record is what our record is. Let’s accept that fact. As Bill Parcells said, “You are what you’re record says you are.” Our Bonnies are a solid basketball team right now. Keep winning games and winning games and people will go from calling you a solid squad to a good one to a really good one. Basketball has a way of evening itself out and so when the season ends I’m going to feel pretty good that our record reflects the talent, production and execution on the floor over 30ish games.

Now, let’s go get two more wins this week.




We’re On to UMASS

The ecstasy of emotions from Saturday night’s game is ever so slightly fading. If you’re anything like me, by this point you have read every article and account of the win, replayed the highlights more times than you can count and exhausted the patience of all of your non-Bonnie friends. The win, will not soon be forgotten, the memories of the night etched into our minds and our hearts. However, like all things… the show must go on.

After the back-to-back buzzer beater wins, the Bonnies sit in sole position of 7th place in the A-10. The road trip to Charlotte and a tough top 25 team at home was no easy task. But let’s not expect things to cool off, as the week ahead will bring more of the same. UMASS will enter the Reilly Center Wednesday night as one of the hottest teams in the conference. The Minutemen have won 4 straight and are 7-2 since dropping their A10 opener vs the Bonnies 5 weeks ago. Saturday afternoon the Bonnies will be in Dayton, Ohio to take on the Flyers. Coming off a tough OT road loss to GW, the Flyers will be hungry to get back on track with a W in front of their faithful home crowd. Both UMASS and Dayton sit ahead of the Bonnies in the standings, part of a 3 way tie for 3rd place in the conference.Posley

Ending Davidson’s 15 game home win streak and taking caring of business vs HAVOC were great moments for this team. I hope we can capitalize on this momentum and confidence and continue to move up the leader-board. The Bonnies will need as many Wins as they can get to set themselves up for a higher seed come March in Brooklyn.