Magic interim coach James Borrego has played a major role in developing Nikola Vucevic into a dangerous low-post player, John Denton of NBA.com writes. “J.B. is my guy and that’s who I have worked with on a daily basis, watched the film with and talked about games with,’’ Vucevic said. “He’s a guy that I have a great relationship with and he’s a great guy. He always stays positive and brings energy to practice to pump us up. I know this will be tough for him because he was close with Jacque [Vaughn], but it’s on us as players to support [Borrego] and help him the best that we can.’’
Here’s more from around the league:
- Rookie Marcus Smart is beginning to earn the trust of the Celtics‘ coaching staff, and the team has shown improvement since Smart took over as the starting point guard after Rajon Rondo was dealt to Dallas, Julian Edlow of WEEI 93.7 FM writes.
- While the prospects for the 2015 NBA draft aren’t getting the hype that last year’s class did, there are still a number of intriguing players heading into the league. Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com ran down the top 30 prospects according to the league insiders he has spoken with. The top three players available in the 2015 draft according to Howard-Cooper are Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Karl-Anthony Towns.
- Amid Syracuse’s subpar season, senior Rakeem Christmas has worked his way from relative obscurity to being a potential first round draft pick this June, Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv writes. “He wasn’t on the board before,” one veteran NBA scout told Zagoria. “He’s averaging 18 points and 9 rebounds, he shoots over 72% from the free-throw line. There aren’t a lot of big guys who do that. He’s an example of a guy staying four years made all the difference. He would’ve made a mistake if he came out; he wasn’t going to the NBA. But you stay in all four years and work it…It’s interesting. I think he’s a bubble guy now, end of the first, beginning of the second [round].”