On Saturday, Presto in the Paint handed out grades to the Orlando Magic’s front office for their mid-season performance evaluation. Today we look at the Magic’s starting line-up and assign player grades based on their play so far. With a record of 12-33, you can bet these grades are a bit harsh. (This is the big leagues and each player is graded on a curve based on expectations, so keep that in mind as you’re reading)
Jameer Nelson – C+
The veteran point guard started slowly, like he always does, but is slowly rounded into form. In January he is averaging 15.8 points and 7.8 assists per game (A big improvement over his 13.7 points and 6.7 assists per game season average). Some fans have been clamoring for Victor Oladipo to start at point guard, but they underestimate how valuable Nelson is.
His three point shooting is still reliable at 36.9%, and he is without a doubt the teams most consistent ball-handler. His experience and leadership are just as important as coaching for this young team. At this stage in his career, Nelson is probably best in a third guard off the bench role for a playoff team. If he continues to play like he has in January, that may be exactly where he ends up after the trade deadline.
Victor Oladipo – B
Oladipo has been exactly what the Magic expected when they drafted him with second pick in the 2013 draft: a defense first, athletic dynamo who struggles offensively. He can get to the rim at ease, but struggles finishing, hitting only 41.3% of his field-goal attempts. He’s even worse from long range, hitting 29.5% of his threes. Still, is excited with loads of potential.
Oladipo doesn’t get a higher grade because of his struggles with consistency at the point guard position. He has trouble with his handles and decision making resulting in 3.2 turnovers per game versus only 3.9 assists. With other rookie point guards like Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams excelling, Oladipo suffers in comparison.