Victor Oladipo came into the NBA without any shooting reputation. Teams may still be ignoring it, but Oladipo’s shot has dramatically improved his 2nd year.
When the Orlando Magic selected Victor Oladipo No. 2 overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, the consensus was that he is a great athlete lacking offensive refinement, a potential defensive ace in the hole whose offensive upside may be limited.
Those notions have been entirely disproven this season as Victor has evolved into the consummate 2-guard, and based on a talent-to-contract ratio, the Magic’s best bargain and most valuable player on a GM-coveted basis.
Oladipo has worked extensively on a jump shot that was lacking in an otherwise outstanding rookie season. He started out already capable of getting to the basket, but this season he is knocking down 40.6 percent of his three pointers, shooting about 2.5 per contest.
Most deadly from the corner, he knocks down 50 percent from that area. He has improved as a catch-and-shoot player and slasher as 78.6 percent of his field goals are assisted on, indicating he is integrated well with his teammates who are able to find a cutting Oladipo for passes, often lobs. There is no questioning his leaping ability, and he desires a spot in the dunk contest. It seems absurd to think he will not eventually get it. Terrence Ross and Oladipo could put on a show.
Vic’s calling card has still been shooting passing lanes, resulting in 1.6 thefts per game. The biggest improvement in his game has been in his mid-distance shooting, which is becoming a strong suit. Oladipo shot just 33 percent from 10-to-16 feet, but this season hits 42 percent, which makes it easier still for him to get to the basket.
This method of adding a jumper post facto is not unseen. Jason Kidd once utterly lacked any kind of shot to speak of, and was referred to as “Ason” (no J) Kidd. The Magic’s own Nick Anderson came in with a hitch, unable to knock anything down. But by the time Shaquille O’Neal arrived, Nick was a knock-down gunner. Tony Parker is another. The list does go on.
And Oladipo is one more on it, one more player whose shooting talents evolved due to hard work and subtle refinements in form.
He may eventually be a guy teams fear leaving open, and if he keeps finding his sweet shots, teams are already in fear of his game.
The comparisons to Dwyane Wade may be off, if only because Oladipo becomes an assassin from behind the arc early in his young career