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Victor Oladipo and His NBA Potential

Chad Ford’s 2013 NBA draft big board currently places shooting guard Victor Oladipo going second overall to the Orlando Magic. Oladipo was a key figure on the Indiana Hoosiers team, which finished the college basketball season as the second ranked team. He is an intriguing figure and in many ways symbolizes an uncertain draft. 

The consensus on the 2013 NBA draft is that it is one of the weakest in recent years. There are no clear stars and even the frequent first overall pick, Nerlens Noel, has a lot of questions swirling around his ability and NBA potential. There are large number of different players who could wind up being the first overall pick, and Oladipo’s status reflects this. Some have the Upper Marlboro native going in the late top 10, others have him going first overall.

Renowned college basketball caller Dick Vitale attracted attention to Oladipo when he compared his athleticism to Michael Jordan’s days with North Carolina. It’s worth nothing that Jordan only went third overall in his draft year (1984). Oladipo isn’t about to get mistaken for Jordan, that’s for certain. However, he is notable as by far the most athletic of the prospects in this draft. He already has an NBA body and his athleticism is a factor that you cannot teach.

There have been several NBA player comparisons for Oladipo, most notably Memphis’ Tony Allen and Miami’s Dwyane Wade. If Oladipo turns into either of those players then the team that drafts him will be happy.

The Allen comparison is clearly based on Oladipo’s defensive abilitie s and there seems little doubt that the 21-year old will be a good defender in the NBA. His athleticism helps him there, he has good size and a smartness that is strongly comparable to Allen.

Perhaps the Wade comparison is the more intriguing one. The three-time NBA champion is a dynamic (when healthy) offensive player, both in terms of his ability to drive the basket and in his jump shooting.

Oladipo doesn’t compare to that right now. He averaged just 13 points per game in his last season of college ball and a big part of that was his inability to score in half court situations. His jump shot is clearly a work in progress and his ability to attack the basket wasn’t tremendously notable at college level, let alone developing it at NBA level.

Developing a jump shot is certainly possible. LeBron James proved that with his display in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals. However, it still seems very unlikely that Oladipo will ever live up to Wade comparisons. That doesn’t mean he isn’t the best player in this draft though. This is a player who took huge strides forward between high school and college level. He has athletic ability, he has a natural sense for the game and he has offensive potential. This might be a draft where teams go after their ‘needs’ more than ‘best player available’ (BPA), but if this was a BPA deal, then Oladipo would surely be the strongest candidate in this draft year,

Sebastian Egerton-Read

Seb has been writing about the NBA and basketball for nearly five years. He has written for a number of different sites and is currently lead writer of The5Hole.com and BasketballSchedule.net. Follow him on twitter @seberead

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