Speaking with the media during NBA All-Star Weekend, Orlando Magic rookie Victor Oladipo mentioned that he's still adjusting to the rigors of the NBA season.
"The number of games in general, it's a toll," he said. "It's a lot of games. We're, like, 54 games in now, so it's just kind of a toll on your body and your mind, but you just gotta be ready and prepare for it."
Oladipo was on hand in New Orleans to take part in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday and the Skills Challenge on Saturday. He tallied 13 points and four assists in the exhibition between rookies and sophomores as his Team Webber fell to Team Hill. The next night, he and Philadelphia 76ers point guard Michael Carter-Williams came up one-tenth of a second shy of winning the Skills Challenge.
In 54 games at the NBA level, Oladipo has logged 1723 minutes. At Indiana, the Maryland native played 2558 minutes in 104 games spread over three seasons. There's no question that the NBA schedule challenges its athletes more than the NCAA's does, but the Magic rookie has risen to that challenge.
Consider that from December to January, Oladipo raised his True Shooting percentage from 47.9 to 53.5. Memphis Grizzlies coach David Joerger said Wednesday that Oladipo "has curbed a bit of his wildness" over the course of the season by "picking and choosing his spots a little bit better."
Steady improvement is a goal of Oladipo's. "I'm just trying to keep an even keel and keep getting better," he said during All-Star Weekend.
Overall, Oladipo is averaging 13.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, four assists, and 1.6 steals for Orlando. He and Carter-Williams figure to be the top two contenders for Rookie of the Year honors.