Of all the things rookie Victor Oladipo did in his summer-league debut Sunday — the made 3-pointers, the rebounds in traffic, the steals — perhaps nothing should give the Orlando Magic more hope than what occurred with two minutes to go in the final quarter.
Teammate Andrew Nicholson set a screen that allowed Oladipo to dribble into the lane. Oladipo slowed a bit, drawing a Boston Celtics interior defender toward him, and dished to Kyle O'Quinn, who scored on a layup.
Magic officials already knew about Oladipo's explosive leaping ability, high work rate and improved jumper, but over these next few days, they want to see if the second overall pick in last month's draft can play some point guard, too. The assist to O'Quinn offered a glimpse of potential: Perhaps Oladipo, a shooting guard in college at Indiana University, can run an offense.
"It's all a learning process," Oladipo said after the Magic beat the less-experienced Celtics 95-88.
"I think I did a pretty good job of playing through my mistakes today, but I've got to keep growing so I don't make the same mistakes over and over and over again. They're patient with me, but I think sometimes I'm not patient with myself because I want so much from me so I can help my team win."
A few hours after he signed his contract with the Magic, Oladipo finished with 18 points, six rebounds, seven assists and five steals.
"I wouldn't call it an experiment," said the Magic's lead assistant coach, James Borrego, who is coaching Orlando's summer-league team. "It's just more, 'Let's see what we have,' and let him grow at both positions. At the end of the day, we'll find out where he's at.
"But there's no rush with him. We've got time. He's young. He's hungry. I think the qualities that he has puts us in line to be successful. We don't need to find out in five days from now what he is. We have time. We'll let him live in this world for a little bit and see where it goes."
To be sure, Oladipo had his rough moments. After he scored 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting in the first half — making a pair of 3-pointers — he slowed in the second half, scoring just four points on 1-of-6 shooting.
He looked shaky at times when opposing guards pressured him. He also committed a total of six turnovers, and seasoned NBA point guards almost certainly would not have made the same miscues.
Midway through the second half, in Boston's defensive half of the court, Oladipo attempted a cross-court pass that hit the rim of the basket, resulting in a lost possession for the Magic.
But he had plenty of support from his new teammates.
Maurice Harkless scored 15 points and collected eight rebounds. Second-round draft pick Romero Osby contributed 18 points. And O'Quinn recorded a double-double, with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
O'Quinn also helped disperse some of Oladipo's butterflies during Orlando's first offensive possession. With Oladipo dribbling the ball in space along the right wing, O'Quinn yelled, "Shoot it!"
Oladipo slid to the left, squared his shoulders and arced a 3-pointer over Kelly Olynyk's outstretched left hand.
"Credit my teammates, because they were the ones who told me to shoot the first shot because I wasn't going to shoot it," Oladipo said. "I kind of just let it fly."
Deferring credit to his teammates?
Spoken like a point guard.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun