Coming into the 2013-2014 NBA season, the Orlando Magic are more than likely going to have one of the most inexperienced leaders in the league. Of course, that leader is going to be the second-overall pick from this year’s draft, guard Victor Oladipo. Through the Orlando Summer League and the first half of the preseason, Oladipo has looked fantastic.
Oladipo has looked every bit like a player ready to lead an NBA team. He exerts 100 percent of his energy every time that he’s on the floor, facilitates, scores, and plays tremendous defense on the perimeter. However, there has been one thing that Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn has wanted to see from his young point guard that hasn’t happened as frequently as he would like.
In a recent interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Vaughn talked about how he wanted Oladipo to more aggressive with the ball in his hands. Vaughn wants Oladipo to attack the rim more often, not only to use his speed and athleticism to finish on the drive, but to also get more trips to the foul line.
Coming into the Magic’s fifth preseason game on Friday night, Oladipo was averaging just 3.8 free throw attempts per game. That’s a solid average, but for a player that has the ability to attack the lane off of the dribble like the rookie does, it’s a number that should be a lot higher.
Oladipo seems to have taken his coach’s wishes to heart, though, as he was much more aggressive with his attacking on Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies. Oladipo finished the game with 22 points, three assists, four rebounds and one steal on 6-12 shooting from the field and 2-3 shooting from long-range. Most importantly, the 21-year-old got to the charity stripe eight times in the game, converting on all eight attempts.
As arguably the most pro-ready prospect in this draft class, Oladipo should be able to have a high level of success this season in Orlando. However, if he wants to maximize his potential in his rookie year and beyond, attacking the rim is going to have to be something that comes natural to him. Vaughn is right—Oladipo is talented, but he’s at his best when he’s playing aggressively. Subsequently, he’ll be much better off this season if he plays similar to how he did on Friday night.