When NBA scouts were valuing the draft stock of point guard Victor Oladipo, scouts were amazed by his defensive skills. But on the offensive end, scouts were concerned if Oladipo had the ball-handling and shooting skills that are required to make it in today’s NBA.
Regardless, many NBA pundits pegged Oladipo to go no lower than fourth in the 2013 NBA Draft, and when the Cleveland Cavaliers shocked the world by drafting Anthony Bennett as the first overall pick, the Orlando Magic, who was granted the second pick, knew that they had their man.
Oladipo was regarded as the most “NBA ready” player coming out of college, and he wasted little time proving the NBA pundits right. Oladipo’s first three games of his pro career saw the usual rookie learning curve, but in his fourth game against the Brooklyn Nets, he showed the world that he could become a household name in the league.
Oladipo exploded for 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting to go along with six rebounds and four assist to personally hand the then slumping Nets a mind-boggling blowout loss. Oladipo never let up as he integrated himself as one of the main cogs in Orlando’s offensive assault.
Along the way, he proved wrong the doubters who said he did not have the offensive weaponry to go along with his famed ball hawking defensive skills. Oladipo is hitting nearly 33 percent of his 3-pointers this season, improving on the long ball as the season went along. He has also improved on his mid-range game to go along with his slashing capabilities.
The only problems that need to be corrected in order for Oladipo to have a strong sophomore season is to control his turnovers (3.2 per game) and for Magic coach Jacque Vaughn to give him a position in the starting lineup. Oladipo was the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award at the beginning of the season, and he should bring home the award now given the fact that he was the only draft pick to perform consistently well throughout the year.
And if he can cut down on the turnovers and get a clearly defined role, Oladipo will be in position to lead the Magic out of the darkness.