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Victor Oladipo is a rookie guard, still only 21 years old, so he’s struggled a little bit with the pick-and-roll, the predominate action NBA teams run after the implementation of zone defenses and the end of hand-checking. As such, ‘Dipo’s success or failure in the NBA can be tied to his ability to efficiently score out of the pick-and-roll or help his teammates score.
Except, as noted, he’s a rookie, and navigating the various defenses he’s faced isn’t the easiest thing in the world for a guard that only came into his own offensively in his junior season at Indiana. Before then, he was a hawkish, defensive guard, unused to much ballhandling and the split-second decision making elite point guards perform as naturally as breathing.
As such, we thought it best to note some of Oladipo’s primary mistakes to best acculturate him on the pick-and-roll strategies of the masters: Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Stephen Curry, etc.
Once a big, or a wing, sets a screen, whether its at the top of the key (more likely), or on the wing, Oladipo has to either turn the corner and take it all the way to the iron, pull up for the jumper (usually from midrange), hit the man rolling to the rim, hit the man popping out, or hit the man who is open once Oladipo makes the turn and forces another defender to rotate over. Oh, and he has to do this all within the split-second it takes the defense to react — at least the better defenses (we aren’t talking about the Sacramento Kings here).
Of all of Victor’s possessions ending in a field goal attempt, foul, or turnover, 40.4 percent of them start in the pick-and-roll, per Synergy. That’s a huge percentage of his offensive touches, which is why it’s so important to look at how he’s handling that responsibility within the Magic’s offense. Sure, he’s going to improve, but what are some of the things he needs to work on? What are the early pick-and-roll peccadilloes we can identify, so he can clean them up as the season progresses?
Obviously there are going to be growing pains, but what has ‘Dipo shown us in the pick-and-roll during his first trimester at the NBA level?
Let’s break down the three different results from a pick-and-roll: finishing at the rim, pulling up for a jumper, and turning the ball over.
It’s that last one Oladipo has struggled with through his opening 25-plus games at the NBA level, but it’s important to keep in mind his age and experience. This is constructive criticism and in no way a critique that should extend beyond the usual growing pains of a young NBA guard.