Victor Oladipo has faced the Boston Celtics twice in his rookie season, but Sunday's rematch will mark the first time the Orlando Magic guard matches up across from Boston's Rajon Rondo, the All-Star point guard who made his season début Friday after missing more than 29 million seconds--but who's counting?--with an ACL injury.
Oladipo, a fiery competitor, said Friday he's looking forward to playing Rondo, whom he's watched "ever since he was at Kentucky." He gushed about several of Rondo's skills, listing the ones he admires most.
"His ability to score, even when people go under him [on screens]. That's one thing that I still think I have to work on. He's perfected it," Oladipo said. "His ability to get everybody involved, but still be aggressive at the same time. The way he plays defense. The way he leads his team."
Though no one will ever confuse Oladipo for Rondo--their games are too dissimilar, with Oladipo a more aggressive scorer and Rondo a more natural playmaker and handler--there's no question that the Indiana product can learn from the four-time All-Star. In addition to finding ways to score even when defenders give him space, Rondo's creativity in finding passing angles merits Oladipo's attention. The Magic rookie, transitioning from collegiate shooting guard to NBA point guard, looks comfortable making easy passes out of the pick-and-pop, but is less effective making plays for others on his forays to the rim.
Sunday's tipoff between Oladipo's Magic and Rondo's Celtics is set for 6 PM on Fox Sports Florida. Given where Orlando and Boston stand in their respective rebuilds, the game could offer a preview of future, higher-stakes showdowns between the dynamic guards.