ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — For Victor Oladipo, the Orlando Magic's first-round draft choice, the comparisons to Dwyane Wade are inevitable, and a little over the top.
"I don't know whether it's fair or it's just because Tom Crean is my coach," Oladipo said Friday, the day after Orlando took him second overall in the NBA draft. "We have similar parts to our game. I'm just trying to be the best Victor Oladipo possible."
Wade played for Crean at Marquette before being drafted fifth overall by the Miami Heat in 2003 and going on to NBA stardom. Oladipo, who played three years at Indiana for Crean, is about an inch shorter, but similarly athletic and tenacious.
"I'm not big on comparisons because it's not fair to Dwyane," Crean said. "Dwyane's one of the best players in the world, and Victor just turned 21. When it comes to the kind of people that they are, the kind of teammates they are, the way they made their teammates better, (the comparison) is huge.
"Dwyane came in with much more of a scorer's mindset than Victor had," added Crean. "Victor didn't come with a scorer's mindset; he came in with energy, a get-to-the-rim, defensive mindset, and he became so much more of a scorer."
Oladipo averaged 13.6 points in his final season at Indiana and 10.7 over three years, modest numbers for the No. 2 pick in the draft. He has never considered himself a scorer.
"Growing up, (playing defense) was pretty much all I could do," he said. "My family and my coaches can attest to that. I had no other skill. For me to stay on the court, I had to play defense. So I was willing to guard the other team's best offensive player just for me to be on the floor. And of course I wanted to win. It's why I am here today."
Coming off a 20-62 season, the Magic are open about which backcourt position Oladipo will play. They want him to play like he played at Indiana.