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Since being drafted by the Orlando Magic, Victor Oladipo has made plenty of headlines. He wore Google Glass on NBA draft day. He experimented at point guard in Summer League. He went toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant in the Goodman League. And he upset Cavs fans by telling Magic season-ticket holders “he really didn’t want to go to Cleveland.”
What other headlines could Oladipo make? We investigate.
1. Fact or Fiction: Oladipo will play more point guard than shooting guard.
Jacob Frankel: Fiction. To think Oladipo will play more point than wing is an oversight of the Magic’s wing flexibility. Arron Afflalo and Maurice Harkless can play both positions on the wing, while Tobias Harris can move down to the four. Oladipo will spend time at the point, but not nearly as much as he will elsewhere.
Spencer Lund: Fact. But that answer comes with the huge caveat that he’ll be lined up at whichever guard position is less healthy. Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson missed large chunks of games last year with injuries, and Nelson is older, so Oladipo will probably get more run at the 1.
Jack Winter: Fact. But that doesn’t necessarily say anything positive about Oladipo’s future at the position. Incumbent Jameer Nelson and career journeyman Ronnie Price are the only true lead guards on this roster, and neither has a tenable future with the organization. Of special note: Nelson’s contract is guaranteed for just $2 million next season, making him prime trade deadline bait.
2. Fact or Fiction: Oladipo will finish the season as a starter.
Frankel: Fiction. Nelson has started every game he’s played in the last three seasons. Afflalo is a lock to start throughout the season, be it at shooting guard or small forward. That leaves one starting wing spot for Harkless, Oladipo, and Harris (unless he starts at power forward) to fight over. I just think the proven commodities will win out.
Lund: Fact. Although Hennigan and Vaughn and the entire Magic brass will pretend otherwise, the Magic are hoping to secure a top lottery pick in the mammoth 2014 draft. If they fall out of contention, they’ll want to get their young players as much time as possible, and that means starting Oladipo at one of the two guard spots.
Winter: Fact. The only thing that should keep Oladipo from leading the Magic in minutes this season is an injury. He needs all of the development he can muster in this relative throwaway of a season, and the best way to ensure he gets it is giving him extended court time.
3. Fact or Fiction: Oladipo will win Rookie of the Year.
Frankel: Fiction. The award is about racking up loads of points, and that’s just not what Oladipo will do. Whether he’ll be deserving is a question I might answer yes to. He’ll make an immediate impact on the defensive end, and if he can keep up his shooting and offensive improvement from college, it’s a clear possibility.
Lund: Fiction. Oladipo plays a position where he’ll have the ball in his hands a lot, and he’s on a team where he’ll get a lot of playing time. But choosing this year’s ROY is like betting on Tiger to win the Masters. He might have the best odds, but it’s still smart to take the field.
Winter: Fact. I chose him for Rookie of the Year in July. With the season fast approaching, there’s no reason to waver. Oladipo will struggle with turnovers and offensive efficiency, but no rookie will match his combination of per game numbers and two-way impact. In a class this weak, that should be enough for the hardware.