Can Victor Oladipo Become the NBA's Next Russell Westbrook?
Less than a week after selecting Victor Oladipo with the second overall pick in the draft, the Orlando Magic are already futzing and tinkering with their new toy.
A traditional shooting guard or wing at Indiana, Orlando's coaching staff might have other plans for Oladipo's role at the NBA level.
Something interesting to watch in summer league: Orlando's Victor Oladipo getting major run at PG - in mold of young Russell Westbrook.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2013
Nobody admires out-of-the-box thinking more than me, but this just seems a little too far-fetched.
With the Jameer Nelson era closing out and the demand for Eric Bledsoe increasing around the league, it appears the Magic are trying to clog a leak with a cork that doesn't quite fit the hole.
Oladipo isn't made out of clay. I'm not sure you can just mold him into whatever shape you need him to be. The point guard position requires a specific skill set and instincts that can't necessarily be learned, developed or manufactured.
Not only do I think Oladipo at point guard will not work, but it doesn't even seem to make basketball sense.
By putting Oladipo on the ball, it restricts him from tapping into his strengths as an off-ball playmaker.
Oladipo finishes plays—he doesn't create them.
If you play him at point guard, it limits the scoring opportunities he typically excels in converting.
You don't want Oladipo giving the ball up. You want him getting it on the way to the rack. He shot roughly 60 percent from the floor last season—he should be a receiver, not a quarterback.
Oladipo isn't an on-ball playmaker, he's an off-ball playmaker. Guys like Josh Smith, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Tony Allen—they get their buckets by making plays without having their number called.
Guys like Russell Westbrook and James Harden are on-ball playmakers—they use the dribble to power their offense and create shots for themselves or teammates.
Oladipo doesn't have a point guard's handle or vision. He isn't shifty enough off the bounce to consistently break down defenses.
NBA-level point guards are unguardable in isolation. The top defender in the league couldn't contain Russell Westbrook one-on-one with space around him.
Oladipo is not much of a threat in isolation.
When there's a driving lane or open runway, Oladipo can hit it and take off. But weaving east and west while manipulating the defense is not a strength or part of his forte.
If there was ever a time to experiment, summer league would be it. But I wouldn't bet on this one panning out.
Victor Oladipo is going to be a valuable contributor to Orlando's rotation, but not as Russell Westbrook.
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