Josh Robbins | Orlando Sentinel
10:25 AM EDT, April 23, 2013
Orlando Magic center Nik Vucevic finished fourth in the voting for the NBA’s 2012-13 Most Improved Player Award, trailing only winner Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, runner-up Greivis Vasquez of the New Orleans Pelicans and Larry Sanders of the Milwaukee Bucks.
League officials announced the results Tuesday morning.
Players received five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.
George was awarded 52 first-place votes and finished with 311 points. Vasquez received 13 first-place votes and compiled 146 points. Sanders had 10 first-place votes and totaled 141 points.
Vucevic received 10 first-place votes and had 109 points. Philadelphia 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday placed fifth, with 10 first-place votes and 102 points.
In his first season with the Magic, Vucevic scored 13.1 points per game and finished second in the NBA in rebounding, averaging 11.9 boards per game.
He ranked third in double-doubles, with 46.
“I’m pretty satisfied with the season I had,” Vucevic said after the Magic's season ended. “The thing that I liked that I did this year is that I’ve gotten better as each month of the season went on, and I’ve stayed consistent. I was lucky to stay healthy for the most part except for a couple of games.
“I just got to keep getting better. My goal is to be one of the best centers in the NBA. I think I can do that. I’ve just got to keep working hard, keep building myself. Then, next year, I’ve got to build on that that and do stuff to get my team more wins.”
Last August, the Magic acquired Vucevic, Arron Afflalo, Maurice Harkless, Al Harrington, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga and draft picks in the four-team, 12-player trade that revolved around Dwight Howard.
Vucevic benefited from the additional playing time that the Magic provided.
In his rookie season with the 76ers, Vucevic averaged 15.9 minutes, 5.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, and he fell out of the team’s playing rotation by the postseason.
With the Magic, Vucevic started 77 games -- with the only absences due to a concussion -- and averaged 33.2 minutes per game.
George is considered one of the sport’s rising stars.
His importance to the Pacers increased because of Danny Granger’s knee injury, and George, a 6-foot-8 wing, was named an All-Star for the first time in his career.
George already was regarded as one of the league’s best perimeter defenders, and in 2012-13, he also improved his statistics across the board, averaging 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game.Afflalo received one second-place vote. Magic forward Tobias Harris received one third-place vote.
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. In the interest of full disclosure, he did not vote for the NBA Most Improved Player Award. You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.
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