Denton: Oladipo Named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for February
By John Denton
March 5, 2014
ORLANDO – In yet another sign of his tremendous growth throughout his rookie season, Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo was named the Rookie of the Month for February by the NBA on Wednesday.
Oladipo, the prized No. 2 pick from last June’s NBA Draft, averaged 14.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.92 steals in 12 games in February. He did all of that while starting half of the 12 games and splitting time between the point guard and shooting guard positions.
The award is the second Rookie of the Month award for the 21-year-old Oladipo. He also won the award in December. Oladipo’s play has been on the rise for months as evidenced by his 15.6 points a game in January and his 14.7 points in February. Oladipo is just the fifth player in Magic history to win the Rookie of the Month award, joining Dennis Scott, Shaquille O’Neal (four times), Penny Hardaway (twice) and Mike Miller (twice).
Some of Orlando’s biggest wins of the season came in February, and Oladipo was usually electrifying in those games. In three consecutive home wins, Oladipo had 20 points against Detroit, 14 points and five rebounds against Oklahoma City and 23 points, four rebounds and four assists in a defeat of Indiana. Oladipo corralled the loose ball that led to the winning basket against the Thunder and he scored 13 fourth-quarter points in the come-from-behind defeat of the Pacers.
In what the rookie called the best game of his career, he battered the New York Knicks for 30 points, nine rebounds and 14 assists in a double-overtime win on Feb. 21. That night, he was again clutch late in the game with 25 points and 10 assists after halftime. He became just the fourth rookie in the past 20 years to have at least 30 points and 14 assists in the same game, joining Jason Kidd, Allen Iverson and Steve Francis.
Among all rookies for the season, Oladipo ranks second in scoring (13.9 ppg.), second in steals (1.63), second in minutes (32), third in assists (4) and fourth in rebounds (4.3).
This season, he’s led the Magic in scoring nine times, in assists 15 times and in rebounding twice. He has 10 20-point games and two 30-point games, including a career-best 35 on Jan. 15 against Chicago.
The only Magic player to appear in the first 62 games this season, Oladipo missed his first game as a professional on Wednesday night because of a sore left ankle. Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said it wasn’t one play where Oladipo was injured, but instead a compilation of bumps and bruises throughout a long season. Vaughn said he made the decision to sit Oladipo, texting him on Wednesday afternoon and instructing him to be sure and bring a sport coat to the game.