John Denton, NBA (http://www.nba.com/magic/news/oladipo-its-all-about-winning)
Take solace Magic fans and fantasy sports players unsure of just how much Oladipo will continue to climb as a player. Often, Oladipo wonders the very same thing.
“No question, there were always instances where that happened to me this summer,’’ said Oladipo, referring to his own thoughts about his personal potential. “I think the biggest thing for me is just not looking ahead, staying focused and (remaining) locked in on winning.
“At the end of the day, that’s all that I want to do. I could care less about everything else,’’ Oladipo added. “I’ve been on a winning team and winning takes care of everything else. It’s all about winning. Winning changes everybody’s mentality and affects everybody’s mood. I’ve been on winning teams, losing teams, average teams and OK teams, but it’s all about winning.’’
“The biggest strides for me are being a better playmaker, taking care of the ball and obviously improving my jump shot,’’ Oladipo said. “Overall, it’s about me being more confident, being more of a leader and making the right play more often. My rookie year and my sophomore year, there were a lot of changes, but now I know what I’m getting myself into and it’s just about making the right play more often.’
Oladipo is floored that he is about to begin his third NBA season – “it seems like yesterday that I started,’’ he said while shaking his head – but he also noted that time in the league has taught him how to better process the game. In many ways, Oladipo knows that he is what he is as a player – a ball-hawk on defense, an explosive threat off the dribble and on the break and an improving threat when left open on the perimeter.
Where he can still grow the most, Oladipo said after giving the topic much thought over the offseason, is better learning to think the game and play with his brain. Sometimes, Oladipo’s aggressiveness and desire overwhelm his game and lead to mistakes that cut into his effectiveness. After a summer of studying himself on video and contemplating ways that he can maximize his full potential as a player – be that of a superstar player or one that is simply just really good for years to come – Oladipo knows that he has to be smarter to get better.
Then, and only then, will diehard Magic fans and those around the basketball world truly see just how good Oladipo can be as a do-everything guard for Orlando.
“Just the mental part of the game as far as picking my spots, being confident and making the simple, precise play while not trying to do too much is the key,’’ Oladipo said. “I just need to let the game come to me. So I’ve been focusing on my mental game. A lot of this game is mental. The greats kind of separate themselves with that mental edge and that’s what I’m trying to focus on.’’