Thursday, June 26, 2014

Examining Victor Oladipo's 2013-2014 Magic Season

Over the course of the Magic's offseason, leading up to the NBA Draft, I'll be analyzing all of the Orlando players that are still on the roster and how they did in their 2013-2014 campaign. I'll be going in ascending order based on games played. I won't be assigning grades or scores.

Previously in the series:

Maurice Harkless
E'Twaun Moore
Andrew Nicholson
Arron Afflalo
Kyle O'Quinn
Jameer Nelson
Tobias Harris
Nikola Vucevic
Doron Lamb
Jason Maxiell
Ronnie Price
Dewayne Dedmon

Let's take a look at Victor Oladipo.

The last player review is saved for the most exciting player this season. So in that instance, Victor's rookie season was a rousing success without even looking at statistics. I never knew so many Indiana Hoosier fans and alumni lived in Orlando, but they came out in droves to support their favorite current son in Oladipo. Those fans had plenty of games to watch Victor do his thing too as the rookie suited up in 80 contests, starting 44 of them.
Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Jason Kidd on Oladipo following Orlando's November 3rd win"He's a talented rookie. He's everything that he's been built up to be, and his future is very bright."
Former Magic guard now current L.A. Clipper J.J. Redick on Oladipo following the Magic's November 6th win"He is an energy guy. Right now he plays with a lot of energy and he plays in attack mode. His skill set is clearly developing but it is there. He will be a fantastic player." 
Oklahoma City Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks on Oladipo following Orlando's February 7th win"He's a good player. He's an aggressive player. He's offensive minded. He can score. He can put it in the basket at many different spots on the floor. He's only going to get better. He seems like a great kid that works hard, and they've got a good group of guys that coach him."
Vic has earned the entire basketball world's respect. He had to go through a trial-by-fire situation by playing point guard - like Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook did in their first seasons in the Association - when Victor is clearly best as a SG cutting to the basket. But that experienced has proven invaluable for his future going forward. Oladipo has proven to be a very reliable ball handler.

As you can see there's room for improvement, and that's awesome because Victor did absolutely everything asked of him this year by the coaching staff. He's mature beyond his 22 years. His 13.8 ppg, 4.1 apg, 4.1 rpg, 1.6 spg, and 0.5 bpg on 41.9 FG% and 32.7 FG% was almost enough to win Rookie of the Year. But alas, Michael Carter-Williams claimed the award. I've already made my case as to why Victor should have been the ROY award recipient. His 3.2 turnovers per contests should concern no one since he was experimenting for the first time as a main ball handler the entire year.

Oladipo's best month of the season proved to be in January when he averaged the most minutes as well. At 35.3 minutes per contest over 17 games, Victor averaged 15.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 4.3 apg, 43.2 FG%, and 32.7 3PT%. Victor's best month for shooting was the 8 games he played in April where Oladipo only averaged 23.6 minutes per game. Oladipo finished his rookie campaign strong by posting 46.8 FG% and 50.0 3PT%. Not bad, rook, that's a great way to enter the offseason.

62 times out of his eighty games played did Victor Oladipo score 10+ points. There were twelve games in which he poured in 20+ points. That shows consistency. There isn't really any where on his game log sheet that you can point to and say he hit the 'rookie wall'. That's just a testament to how NBA ready his body was. Oladipo had numerous impressive outings, more than I dare to list in this post, from his triple-double in Philadelphia to his 35-pointer against the Bulls.

With Arron Afflalo being traded, the door is open for Oladipo to slide into a more comfortable starting shooting guard role. Oladipo is making just a hair under $5 million in '14-'15, but that's enough to be the highest guaranteed salary on the current Magic squad with Jameer Nelson's contract only being partially guaranteed. Rob Hennigan has a lean, mean, and young roster at his fingertips with Victor Oladipo being part of the main core.

Oladipo has a phenomenal work ethic, he's hungry for personal and team success, and he'll do what is necessary to improve his game this summer. His defense is already fantastic. If he can continue to raise his shooting averages, he's going to be an All-Star in no time flat. A better jump shot will open up lanes for cleaner scoring chances at the rim. I would say Oladipo is as close to untouchable as one can get on this Magic roster. He's quickly become a fan favorite with his personality and charisma. Victor oozes determination, heart, swagger, and almost everything he does is electric. In a word: 'Feathery'.

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