Victor Oladipo is not a typical rookie, and that’s great news for the Orlando Magic. While many first year players are hitting the rookie wall, Oladipo is building up his production as the season wears on. His numbers across the board continue to improve, raising expectations and excitement. Breaking down his stats across 20-game stretches this season, his maturation as a basketball player is impossible to ignore.
Oladipo really struggled over the first 20 games of his career. He averaged 13.8 points per game, but only shot 40.4% from the field and 27.4% from three point range. He did average 4.6 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 3.6 assists, but those were mitigated by his 3.7 turnovers per contest. He looked uncomfortable playing point guard and offered little value on the offensive end.
Over the next 20 games, Oladipo’s efficiency profile started to turn. While his scoring stayed steady at 13.5 points per game, he made more of the shots he took. (42.2% FG%//30.3% 3P%). His rebounding fell slightly to 3.9 boards per game along with his steals (1.3 spg), but his ball handling showed marked improvement. While 4.1 assists versus 3.0 turnovers isn’t ideal, it got his assist/turnover ratio in positive territory.
Oladipo’s last 13 games have been his best. He’s averaging 15.2 points per game on 41.7% shooting from the field and 34.4% from three (his efficiency numbers have been hurt by back-to-back games where he shot 3-16 and 2-11 from the field). Both his total rebounds (5.1 per game) and steals (2.2 per game) are up as well, and his point guard play has continued to improve. He’s averaging 4.6 assists and 2.8 turnovers per game for a nifty 2-1 assist/turnover ratio.
Oladipo’s improvement has coincided with the teams best stretch of basketball. They’ve won 3 in a row including one point thrillers over the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Indiana Pacers, and they’ve won 5 in a row at home. In those victories, Oladipo has picked up the slack from a struggling Arron Afflalo, making his case for most valuable Magic alongside Nikola Vucevic. That value and results is the reason Oladipo is the Magic’s only “untouchable” player at the trade deadline.
What do you think? Is Victor Oladipo’s improvement real or just fools gold? Let us know in the comments section below.