The Orlando Magic selected Victor Oladipo with the second overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, and expectations are extremely high for his second season. He put up very nice numbers in his rookie year, and impressed the entire league. Not only was he able to play at a high level at shooting guard, he also got the chance to show what he could do at the point guard position.
There is a lot of excitement around the Magic organization, and the team firmly believes that Oladipo is going to become a star. Oladipo showed a lot of skill, but there are many ways that he could get better. So with all that being said, what is in store for Oladipo in his second NBA season?
Last season with the Magic, Oladipo ended up playing in 80 regular season games and started in 44 of those appearances. In those 80 games, he ended up averaging 13.8 points, 4.1 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game. He played very well against good teams, and didn’t have as many growing pains as some players with his abilities could have jumping to the NBA level. It was very obvious that he has a high basketball IQ, and he also improved throughout the regular season which showed a good work ethic as well.
Perhaps the most important issue would be to find out what position he will be playing this coming season. He has a shooting guard body, but the Magic experimented with him at point guard and actually liked what he brought to the court. Many point guards across the league possess the same type of athletic ability that Oladipo has, and the main comparison that has been thrown around is Russell Westbrook.
Oladipo’s game is very similar to what Westbrook brings to the floor in Oklahoma City. He is a great defensive presence and also has a good all-around offensive game. His athletic ability would allow him to have advantages over quite a few point guards in the NBA, and he seemed to have the ball-handling ability to be a point guard as well last year.
How can Oladipo improve his game even more to get closer to reaching his full potential? One area that could be improved would be his three-point shooting ability. He ended up shooting just 32.7 percent from behind the three-point arc last season, and that is definitely an area that could use improvement. If he is able to become a better perimeter shooter, it would make defenders have an even harder time defending his ability to get to the rim and finish.
His playmaking ability could use a bit of improvement as well if he is going to be a point guard, but he was still able to make a difference in the passing game. The physical abilities that he has will help him make plays for his teammates, but he needs to understand when to be aggressive with his offense and when to give the ball up to his teammates. All of that will come with more experience playing the point guard position, but they are still things that must be improved.
As a whole, he has a very polished all-around game and is an electrifying player in the open court. His shooting percentages could certainly go up, but struggles in his first season aren’t something to be too upset about. The Magic will likely end up using Oladipo as their shooting guard with the addition of Elfrid Payton through the draft, which will allow him to play off of the ball and be the offensive threat and slasher that he is.
Overall, this is going to be a very exciting season for the Magic and especially for Oladipo. He has all of the potential in the world to become a star, and will likely be a much improved player from last year. The Magic are going to ask a lot more from him than they did last season, and he will have an even bigger role now that Arron Afflalo has been traded. There is absolutely no doubt that there is a bright future for Oladipo this season.
Evan Massey is a Staff Writer for HoopsHabit.com.