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How Can Former Indiana Hoosiers Star Victor Oladipo Take The Next Step For The Orlando Magic?

After three successful years as a Hoosier, Victor Oladipo is beginning his third season in the NBA, and looking to take the next step to reach all-star potential.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In his three seasons under Tom Crean at Indiana, Victor Oladipo showed steady improvement, increasing his points, rebounds, and assists each year before turning pro after his junior season. Oladipo also had his best statistical year from the field in his last year at Bloomington as he shot an unbelievable 60% from the floor including 44% from behind the arc while averaging 13.6 points per game.

In 2013, the Orlando Magic made Victor Oladipo the 2nd overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft behind just Anthony Bennett. Now, the Maryland native is seven games in to his third season in the league, and looking to continue to improve on his early success in the NBA.

Victor Oladipo's Career Stats From Indiana:

Season

GP MPG PPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG
2010-11 32 18.0 7.4 .547 .308 .612 3.7 0.9
2011-12 36 26.7 .10.8 .471 .208 .750 5.3 2.0
2012-13 36 28.4 13.6 .599 .441 .746 6.3 2.1

Today, we look at what Oladipo must do in his third season in order to take the next step and be an all-star caliber player in the star-filled NBA.

There is no question Oladipo is already one of the elite athletes in the NBA and is able to use his quickness to create for himself and others off the dribble. He can get around defenders on the wing and finish over defenders at the rim. He can also get out in transition and connect on a highlight dunk or two. To complete his game, however, the third year guard needs to be more efficient scoring the ball.

This doesn't mean Oladipo needs to shoot close to 40% from deep, or be an elite scorer from outside, but he needs to shoot better than his 42% career mark from the field. Take Dwyane Wade for example. A similar style player to Oladipo, Wade has never shot better than 31% from behind the arc in any of his 12 seasons in the NBA. He still, however, has a 49% career field goal percentage from the floor. This is because he attempts just 1.7 3 point attempts per game and works to get quality shots and developed a good midrange game throughout his career. Oladipo needs to do the same.

In his first 2 plus years, Oladipo has attempted 3.2 attempts from deep per game and made 33%. While that's not a bad percentage, he has shot just 42.5% from the field. The former Hoosier needs to take a page out of Wade's book and improve his midrange game and focus less on shooting 3-pointers.

Last season, he averaged just 4.4 free throw attempts per game. If Oladipo drives to the basket more and works more inside 15-20 ft, his field goal percentage will rise as will his free throw attempts. This will enable him to score possibly 20 points per game while still only shooting 16-17 shots per game.

Victor Oladipo's Career NBA Stats :

Season GP MPG PPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG
2013-14 80 31.1 13.8 .419 .327 .780 4.1 4.1
2014-15 72 35.7 17.9 .436 .339 .819 4.2 4.1
2015-16 7 38.7 16.3 .379 .270 .889 7.6 4.6

If Oladipo can pair a 20 point per game line and improved efficiency with his all around game that included 4.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists in just his second NBA season, he will be hard to ignore as one of the great young players in the game.

Lastly, Oladipo's young Orlando Magic squad need to find a way to make the playoffs. The NBA is a league where one player can make a big difference to a team (see LeBron James joining the Cavaliers). If the 23 year old from Maryland wants to be talked about as an elite player in a league filled with star guards like Steph Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, John Wall, and Wade to name a few, he is going to need to lead his team to a playoff berth in a weak Eastern Conference. Last season, the 8-seed in the East was 38-44.

While the Magic had just 25 wins last season, they have the young core to build on that and contend for that last playoff spot this year. With Oladipo leading the way in the backcourt next to Elfrid Payton, Nikola Vucevic an improving post presence, and Tobias Harris on the wing, the Magic have a great chance to improve drastically on those 25 wins and make the 8-seed in the East.

Any playoff exposure will help Victor Oladipo's status as an all-star caliber player in the NBA. If the Magic could somehow sneak in as the 8-seed and face the Cavs in the first round, it would be a great experience for the 23 year old to face a LeBron James' led team poised for another run at the title. While Oladipo hasn't gotten a ton of attention playing for a below average Orlando team in his first few years in the league, he has quietly been improving each year in the NBA and is very close to breaking out in to the next tier of players.