67RIEFNS No. 5: Victor Oladipo playing shooting guard


The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the doldrums of the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

Short on point guards, the Magic turned No. 2 pick Victor Oladipo into one last season.

Which was fine for the purpose it served.

Oladipo was not a very good point guard, which helped Orlando tank. He also gained more experience with the ball in his hands, which should help him down the road. And he tried playing a position that great impacts the game than his natural shooting guard, which gave the woebegone Magic an opportunity to get more bang for their buck.

But it also made him much less enjoyable to watch.

Of the NBA’s 50 assist leaders, nobody had a worse assist-to-turnover ration than Oladipo, who averaged 4.1 assists and 3.2 turnovers per game. Among the players who fared better: Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love and any point guard with substantial playing time.

Oladipo doesn’t project well at point guard long term. He was especially ill-equipped to play the position as a rookie. His ball-handling, good for an off guard, is suspect for a point guard. His court vision doesn’t rate well, either.

Yet, again and again, the Magic put him at point guard and had him run pick-and-roles that were over his head. Oladipo played just 41 percent of his minutes with Jameer Nelson, Orlando’s only true point guard.

That should change this season.

Orlando acquired Elfrid Payton on draft night and signed Luke Ridnour. Whether the Magic are trying to build for the future or win now, they have better point guard options than Oladipo.

That means Oladipo can play shooting guard, his natural position. I hope that, coupled with gaining a year of NBA experiences, unleashes Oladipo to play with less hesitation.

I want to see the Oladipo who fearlessly attacks the rim. I want to see the Oladipo who relentlessly defends.

I want to see more of this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

Even playing out of position, Oladipo found plenty of opportunities to create highlights last year. Freed from the burden of playing point guard, Oladipo should thrive as one of the NBA’s most exciting players this season.