Denton: Rookie Role

By John Denton
Nov. 9, 2013

ATLANTA – Much was made before the season of the Magic’s plan to use prized rookie Victor Oladipo at shooting guard, but the team has worked to take some of the stress of that position off the No. 2 pick’s shoulders.

When Oladipo comes into games – usually late in the first quarter – he replaces shooting guard Arron Afflalo and plays alongside of veteran point guard Jameer Nelson. Then when Nelson goes to the bench, Oladipo is on the floor with E’Twaun Moore, another player capable of initiating the offense from either guard position.

Oladipo’s finest game as a pro came last Sunday against Brooklyn when he scored 19 points, handed out four assists and grabbed two steals. He’s slumped a bit since then and struggled with turnover issues in Friday’s loss to Boston.

In his first six NBA games, Oladipo has averaged 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.67 steals a game. But one particular comparison – 25 turnovers compared to 21 assists – shows that he still has plenty of work to do when it comes to mastering the point guard position. Vaughn knows that there will be plenty of highs and lows along the way for the rookie, but he thinks that Oladipo has handled the transition from collegiate shooting guard to NBA point guard quite well.

``He’s still progressing and we’ve put the ball in his hands probably half of the game right now,’’ Vaughn said. ``We’ve let him orchestrate the offense. That’s a tough position to play and we’ll continue to push him and challenge him. But overall he’s been good for us. He’s pushed the pace for us, he’s handled the basketball and he’s made good reads. He’s continued to learn.’’





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