Ever since the Magic traded fading Steve Francis late in the 2006 season – former GM Otis Smith hoodwinking the New York Knicks – Jameer Nelson has not been challenged as the starter. The club obviously wants that to change at some juncture. Riding shotgun for years with Dwight Howard Nelson enters his 10th season with the Magic as the team's longest-tenured player. He'll turn 32 in February. If he finally hears footsteps they are coming from a rookie trainee Victor Oladipo. The Magic selected him at No. 2 in the June draft making Oladipo their highest pick since taking Howard at No. 1 in 2004. (Nelson also was selected that year at No. 20 by the Denver Nuggets and acquired by the Magic.) If there was any doubt that the Magic were influenced by what Oklahoma City has done with Russell Westbrook – transitioning a dynamic athlete to point guard – they made their intentions clear in the summer league. They put Oladipo – a shooting guard at Indiana University – in charge of the offense. Not surprisingly the experiment played to mixed reviews. Oladipo's aggressiveness was undermined by turnovers. The Magic will give him chances in Year 2 of this rebuild to position himself to succeed Nelson while they monitor Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart for the next draft. Oladipo is everything that Jameer is not at this stage: Young lightning fast defensively adept and about five inches taller.
Rookie Oladipo in PG mix with Nelson
Orlando Sentinel | Aug 31