Victor Oladipo is putting himself through mindblowing shooting drills
The common criticism against the Orlando Magic's dynamic young backcourt is a simple one: They can't shoot. Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo are amazingly talented prospects, but their inability to consistently knock down shots from the perimeter is limiting just how good they can be.
It's an oversimplification, for starters. But even if there's a kernel of truth to the sentiment, that might not be the case for very long. In preparation for the upcoming season, Oladipo is putting himself through exhaustive (and exhausting) shooting drills at the end of practice, according to the Magic's official team website:
Even just a little bit of improvement by Oladipo from deep could drastically help Orlando. He's not a horrific 3-point shooter; last year, he made just shy of 34 percent of his looks from downtown. The breakeven point for a 3-point shooter is roughly 36 percent. At that point, defenses at least have to consider covering Oladipo, which prevents defenders from sagging into the lane and preventing the Magic from driving to the rim.
But with this kind of dedication, the sky could be the limit for Oladipo as a shooter. And that, in turn, could help him take the next step in his path toward stardom.
Oladipo had already gone through a two-hour practice and another 60 minutes of drills working to perfect his decision-making in pick-and-roll sets and his shooting off dribble-handoff plays. Then came the outside shooting session where Oladipo had to make at least eight of 10 tries from five different spots around the 3-point stripe.
Fatigue was clearly setting in, but none of that mattered to the guard. He got close on his first try, drilling seven of his first nine shots and needed only a corner look to head for the showers. But it uncharacteristically missed. […]
But Oladipo pushed on. And by the fifth time around the arc he made nine of 10 3-point shots – an impressive feat even with no defenders around him. There was no way, Oladipo stressed, that he was leaving the gym without hitting the goal for the shooting session. Even if it would have taken him all night.