I have to start by saying that I'm hesitant about writing this, as I am more than a little worried that doing so will likely jinx Oladipo into a stretch of poor play. Such is how these things work in my mind.
That said, I want to examine statistically where Oladipo's season has gone so far. Oladipo's play this last week has become noticeably more consistent, and with the month of January being his best month yet I think most people on OPP would say he has definitely improved over the course of the year.
This post is an attempt to examine that further and really quantify that improvement.
All Data is courtesy of my bible: basketball-reference.com
These are Oladipo's per game averages over the course of the whole season. After combing through his game log and trying to find an acceptable "turning-point" date to use for the purposes of this exercise, I have settled on the "Christmas" break as the demarcation line for Oladipo's season.
The Magic played on 12/23, when Oladipo had a very poor sat line of 3 pts (1/4FG) 1 Ast, 1 Reb, and 1 TO in 16 minutes of game time.
They then had three days off, next playing on 12/27. Oladipo had a double double of 16 pts (5/12 FG), 11 asts, 5 rebs and 1 TO. Including this game, we've seen a real turnaround in Victor's overall game since 12/23
Oladipo's per game averages over the first 28 games of the season. (don't know how to embed this from bbref, unfortunately)
Oladipo's per game averages from game 29 to 52 (so not including tonight's game against IND)
There's a pretty noticeable difference, but not just because Victor has gotten about 3 more minutes per game. He's shooting the ball more efficiently both from the field and three, assisting more while having fewer turnovers, getting to the free throw line more and shooting substantially better there. In short, his per-game averages have seen either small or moderate improvements in almost every aspect.
The advanced statistics show the improvements in even starker terms.
Oladipo's true shooting percentage has gone from .488 to .535 as he has learned not only how to finish at the rim, but also how to better draw contact and has improved his jump-shot from mid-range and three (though his 3 point mark over this span is still sub-optimal) and very promisingly has turned into an 80% free throw shooter.
Interestingly, though it seems that a consensus on Oladipo's inability to run the point has seemed to have formed on OPP, his play-making has seen the most dramatic improvement over this stretch. his Ast% has jumped 7 percentage points to 24.4 while his TOV% has dropped 2 points to 18.0. While both marks are still too low and too high, respectively, they are certainly within the range of being a "caretaker" PG in the George Hill mold. Someone who can push the ball in transition, but often drops the ball off to a secondary ball-handler in the half-court.
Given Oladipo's progress as a ball-handler, if the Magic do not draft a point guard in June then I would expect to see Oladipo back at the point next year in an even expanded role.
Aside from Ast% and Tov%, the final advanced statistic indicating Oladipo's growing comfort in the offense has been his Offensive rating, which has climbed a full 11 points from a measly 88 over the first 28 games, to 99. Still, not fantastic, but it's interesting to note that this uptick has corresponded with some of Jameer's finest play of the season as well, so it hasn't been a case of Jameer playing poorly and thus inflating Oladipo's numbers simply because he's off the court. Unfortunately I can't pull BBref's game log for Jameer over this period, so this is just going off the eye test.
And because no FanPost is complete without a poll, here you guys go: