Victor Oladipo Is A Star In The Making

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Saturday, March 01, 2014 with No comments
Written By Clevis Murray

Michael Carter-Williams will most likely win the NBA's Rookie of the Year award this season for the Philadelphia 76ers as he is averaging 17.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists.  It will be interesting to see if Carter-Williams can put up those numbers throughout his career as his team improves because it's easy to put up great numbers while on a bad team.  Lately NBA players who've come from Syracuse haven't been successful and the last Point Guard from that university was Johnny Flynn.  Flynn had a great rookie year and that's about it since he's now out of the league.  Victor Oladipo is perhaps losing the battle for Rookie of the Year but what matters is his growing career arc and an Orlando Magic team that currently is in a better position to succeed than Carter-Williams' 76ers.  On a Orlando Magic team that has great young players, Oladpio is showing why he will have the best career out of anyone that was drafted during the 2013 NBA Draft.
Coming out of Indiana after being there for three years Oladipo was known for his defense, athleticism and hustle which gained him a comparison to Miami Heat star guard and perennial All-Star Dwyane Wade.  Due to watching Wade in his early years and Oladipo now anyone can see the comparison. Oladipo improved each season at Indiana but wasn't a household name until his junior season and was a terrific shooter but not so much of a scorer.

This season with Orlando he is averaging 13.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists along with shooting 41.2 (FG%), 30.4 (3P%) and 78.2 (FT%). His shooting percentages are somewhat similar to when he was in college which were 53.8 (FG%), 33.3 (3P%) and 71.6 (FT%). As you may have noticed his field-goal percentage has dropped off 12.6% but the reason that could be is because the NBA is a completely different game than college basketball and also in college he was more of a slashing guard and was a "Shooting" Guard. As he was drafted with the second pick he was asked to become a "Point" Guard similar to the Russell Westbrook experiment by the Oklahoma City Thunder who transformed Westbrook from the shooting guard to a point with much success. Oladipo has shown flashes this season of becoming that type of player which would make him a combo guard and add to the multitude of reasons as to why he's a future star.

This season Oladipo has adjusted well to his new position and is becoming more and more acclimated to it each game he plays with his rebounds per 48 minutes (RP48M) being 6.2 which is 11th among rookies. Also among rookies Oladipo is third in usage rating with a 22.8.  That stat shows that even though he's 21 years of age he's gaining the trust from Head Coach Jacque Vaughn. Oladipo is averaging 31.8 minutes per game (MPG) and has a 13.9 player efficiency rating (PER) which is fourth among rookies and second among rookie guards. To complete the transition to "Point" Guard Oladipo will need to work on his court awareness and ball-handling since since his assist/turnover ratio is 1.34 (AST/TO) and among qualified players he is tied for 10th in turnovers per game (TOPG). Fellow rookie Michael Carter-Williams averages more turnovers per game (3.6) than Oladipo, but Oladipo has more total turnovers with 176 which is seventh in the entire NBA but his turnovers have been dropping lately with his assists increasing as he recently had 14 against the New York Knicks.

Oladipo's athleticism is tremendous and is key for a guard to become a star in the league. He has great quickness when heading to the basket and isn't afraid of contact while always being aggressive when attacking the rim. With his 42-inch vertical, Oladipo has thrown down some emphatic dunks this season and wanted the world to see his leaping ability in the 2014 Dunk Contest but wasn't invited to be a participant. His athleticism makes him finish strong at the rim and become a acrobat at the rim and if he keeps the mentality of attacking the hoop when possible, the time will come when he will get "Superstar Calls" and make constant visits to the free-throw line.

This year he has a become a pretty good pick-and-roll player and is showing us that his offensive game is developing as he has a great first step, step-back and pull-up jumper and is mainly spotted for taking the mid-range shot. Thus far this season he's had two standout games, the first came against Michael-Carter Williams when he had 26 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 3 steals; the second came against the New York Knicks as he amazed with 30 points, 9 rebounds, 14 assists and 2 steals. Despite being second among rookies in PPG, he is first among total points with 788 and could score 1,000 points if he remains healthy. Oladipo is third among rookies in scoring per 48 minutes among those who qualify with 20.9 and it wouldn't be a shock if he actually averaged that number in a season. Lastly Oladipo is tied for second with Utah Jazz Point Guard in Double-Doubles with five behind MCW's 10.

Defense is how Oladipo was known coming out of college for his tenacious defense due enlarge part with his 6'9.25 wingspan and he had a 2.8 block percentage which was first among guards in the 2013 draft class. Oladipo has a great motor and refuses to lose on defense and that's what he prides himself on the most. In college he once had a game with 22 defections which is thanks to his quick hands and feet as his main focus is his opposition. Also at IU on 45 possessions he guarded four different players and only gave up four points. This season he is second among rookies in steals and tied for 12th in the entire league as he is averaging 1.6 per game (SPG). He has the most total steals among rookies and is tied for ninth in the total NBA. Oladipo also has great strength and anticipation as a defender. 

Even though he's only 6'5" he is a pretty good rebounder for a guard due to his aggressiveness and it makes him a tough matchup for opposing guards night after night. In his rookie campaign he is second behind Carter-Williams in defensive rebounds per game (DRPG) with 3.8 among all rookies but is first among total DRPG with 216. His vertical leap will allow him to rebound more and at a higher rate as he is 8th among guards in the entire league in rebounds per 48 minutes (RP48) with 6.6. It shows that he has great potential to become a league leader in rebounds among his fellow guards.  

Victor Oladipo definitely has star potential and can only get better as he could eventually become a 20-5-5 player. Most people compare him to Dwyane Wade and that's a fair comparison except the only difference between the two is their ball-handling. Best case scenarios are Dwyane Wade and Andre Iguodala, worst case scenario is Avery Bradley. But with a work ethic like Oladipo's he probably won't end up with the worst case scenario comparison and live up to his true potential and realizes it saying "I feel I haven’t scratched the surface of how good I can be" and fulfill his dream of being the "greatest to ever play this game." He feels the improvement within himself as a person and player saying 

"I’ve come a long way,” Oladipo said. “Just as a person, not just as a player. I’ve been in so many situations. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. Every game I can control one thing that’s what I bring in my energy at both ends of the floor and just play hard no matter what."


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