One of the players that was not expected to slide and saw his draft stock soar over the past few months was Victor Oladipo and sure enough, the Orlando Magic were there waiting with open arms.
Here is a checklist for gauging Oladipo's rookie success.
Over the course of the past few months, I have been able to pay close attention to Oladipo. As a Midwesterner, I am typically more focused on Big Ten basketball when it comes to the college game. It tends to be the ideal situation when that conference produces lottery-caliber talent, allowing me to scout players that I typically would be watching anyways.
Oladipo shot out this season after showing flashes of talent in his first two seasons at Indiana.
What really stands out about Oladipo is his athleticism. He truly looks much different from average players from a physical standpoint. This translates best into the defensive game as he uses his long arms, quick feet and leaping ability to envelop his opponents.
Additionally, he has the will and desire to shut down his man. He really takes a ton of pride in being a defensive stopper.
He also is a good rebounder for a guard and knows how to play passing lanes to pick off easy steals.
Offensively, Oladipo is good but not great. But he is truly improving.
After shooting just over 20 percent from three point land as a sophomore, that number shot up to 44 percent as a junior. His field goal percentage went from 47 percent to just under 60 percent.
He can catch and shoot, drive to the hoop and shows the effort and intelligence to move well without the ball.
This last point is going to be interesting to watch develop as spacing and moving without the ball are typically the last things that offensively improving players learn.
The only things that Oladipo doesn't do well is pass and protect the ball. Obviously in Indiana he didn't really need to develop those skills as he was the focal point of the offense on many possessions. He wasn't asked to be a distributor and he generally was able to slash at will.
Overall, Oladipo is a defensive stopper with the potential to be a solid scorer at the next level.
How Oladipo Fits in Orlando
If I were an Orlando Magic fan, I would be very excited about my team's young nucleus.
First off, they have starting shooting guard Arron Afflalo anchoring the defense and acting as the floor leader.
Second off, they have the Nic Batum-like Moe Harkless who looks to be an absolute steal after a very solid rookie season.
Tobias Harris and Andrew Nicholson are young, talented forwards that can develop into regular rotation guys and Nikola Vucevic has the makings of a very good center.
Obviously the Magic need to address their point guard position as Jameer Nelson and Beno Udrih are far from elite talents there. But they have a lot of depth, especially on the wings that could be used to bring back someone via trade.
What's so great about the Magic right now is that they can develop Oladipo slowly. Afflalo, if he isn't dealt, could be left in the starting lineup and Harkless could be shifted to small forward. Nicholson and Glen Davis can compete for the big forward spot with Vucevic roaming the middle.
Oladipo can be counted on initially to be primarily a defensive stopper. He can be inserted into the second unit and shut down the opponent's top wing scorer.
Offensively the Magic have other options, meaning that Oladipo can work on his game.
This seems to be the ideal situation for Oladipo to be inserted into.
Like stated earlier, Oladipo doesn't enter a situation in Orlando where he needs to be the savior. He doesn't have to be the missing piece on a team that is looking to contend and he doesn't have to play a game that isn't his.
That essentially means that he can focus on doing what he does well and let the rest of his game come to him.
As far as numbers go, expectations should be tempered. The Oladipo pick is one that should be viewed as a long term investment. The Magic aren't in a position to contend anytime soon, so they can slowly develop their young squad.
A reasonable expectation as far as stats go is for Oladipo to average around eight to 10 points per game with around four or five rebounds and a steal and a half per game.
More importantly, Oladipo needs to work on his jumper and understanding the overall feel for the game.
The Magic aren't expecting Oladipo to become the next D-Wade but rather a rich man's Tony Allen.
With a player like Oladipo, his value will never be measured by his stats. His real impact is going to be how he makes the overall team defense better and how he fits into the transition game.
Oladipo is an incredibly smart, strong-willed player that will likely improve every season as he has that type of intrinsic motivation.
The Magic should be very excited about this pick and their fans should look forward to many years of fantastic and exciting play from their young guard.
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