Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 8/23/13
By Rob Milne Since the loss of Dwight Howard the Orlando Magic have been gathering building blocks and assets to create a new look franchise, a youthful franchise. Therefore the 2013 NBA draft proved a pivotal moment in this development. GM Rob Hennigan could have drafted exciting prospects such as Nerlens Noel or dynamic players with high upside like Ben McLemore, but instead he made the smart decision. By drafting guard Victor Oladipo with the 2nd overall pick, Hennigan added a reliable and NBA ready player to the roster. The player out of Indiana had not been touted as a top prospect in his freshman year, but facing adversity proved his worth, cementing himself as a solid threat by the end of his second year, coming into prominence by his third year. He is set to add to the young assets in Orlando, such as Tobias Harris and Moe Harkless, forming a young and hungry roster. Oladipo will perhaps not get the opportunity to start at his favoured position of SG, with veteran Afflalo still on the roster; this may explain why they have been trying Oladipo out at PG during the Orlando summer league.  Looking forward it would not be a shock if Afflalo along with Glen Davis are traded before the close of the offseason, for more draft picks or younger assets with upside. Oladipo showed ability to be able to create his own offensive shots and opportunities, in his final year playing in Indiana. He had previously been strong when attacking the basket, but now he was able to create space on the outside and score points with the jumper, reminiscent of a young Dwayne Wade. This form continued into the summer league, as Oladipo got his first experience in an Orlando jersey, albeit not the first team. He appeared to be putting down shots with ease, averaging 19 ppg, whilst still supplying assists with an average of 5 per game. Many experts stated that Oladipo was already making his claim to take the crown of Rookie of the Year, before the regular season has even kicked in. This sort of impact was predicted, as he was viewed as the most NBA ready player, as stated earlier. He is a player with high workrate, high ability and high potential, a coup by the Magic. Putting his basketball skills aside, throughout the draft process and his final year at Indiana, Oladipo established a fantastic reputation off the court. Since being drafted, he has been seen playing pranks on his fellow rookies and testing his vocal chords by singing about his draft experience. This likeable persona will make Oladipo one of the most liked and marketable players in the league, he is simply a ‘fun’ guy. The guard is set to be a figurehead for the Magic and the city of Orlando, quite contrasting to Dwight Howard whom by the end of his tenure brought more bad publicity than good, earning the name ‘Dwightmare’.  It won’t take long for Oladipo to become a fan favourite, probably the name that tops jersey sales amongst Magic fans, very much the face of the franchise. It is now time for the Magic to put their Dwight Howard issues behind them and focus on the future. The club has arguably done the better out of the Dwight Howard trade and is gradually acquiring assets that will propel them toward contending at the top again. This year will be a struggle for the Magic as the young players learn to grow, perhaps allowing them to grab top-prospect Andrew Wiggins come next year’s draft. Yet, the fans should still be excited, they have a top player in Oladipo and a bright future, every franchise has downtime before they surge back to the top, well unless you are the Charlotte Bobcats of course.
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