Should you pick one rookie in the NBA this season that will have the biggest impact on his respective team, Victor Oladipo has to be the name on the lips. Oladipo, the Orlando Magic‘s first-round pick, is already being considered the favorite to earn Rookie of the Year honors.
I think the Rookie of the Year expectations are fair simply because the Orlando Magic are a team in no rush to make any significant noise in the standings and want to give their young, core guys a hefty amount of minutes.
Oladipo should get as many, if not more, minutes than his rookie counterparts across the league.
The Magic caught a glimpse of the type of impact Oladipo can have during the Orlando Summer League. Oladipo was named to the ‘All First-Team’ while averaging 19 points and five assists over the four game schedule.
Most impressively, and the area where Oladipo will make his biggest impact, was his three steals a game including five steals in his debut game. Coming into the draft, everyone knew Oladipo was already a defensive wizard, and at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds he has the size and strength along with superior athleticism to stop both guard positions.
Where the Magic will want to see improvement from Oladipo is his overall offensive game. Oladipo showed in college that he’s very effective at moving off the ball and getting to the basket, and although he dramatically improved his shooting between years in college, the Magic will want to see him continue to improve in that area.
There was plenty made about the Magic experimenting with Oladipo running the point-guard spot during the Summer League. The comparisons to Russell Westbrook started immediately, and even though the comparisons aren’t totally farfetched, Oladipo has a long road to get to his level. His decision-making was questionable at times and he also had trouble dealing with traps and double teams in the Summer League.
Regardless of where the Magic play Oladipo, Magic fans should be comforted knowing they have the hardest working player from this year’s draft-class. Oladipo’s work ethic was praised throughout the draft process, and his tireless energy on the court will undoubtedly leave an impact on his teammates.
When the curtain falls on the 2013-2014 season, Victor Oladipo will hold the Rookie of the Year trophy.