Indiana junior Victor Oladipo is moving up on NBA Draft board projections, settling into the top five picks.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – I sensed some nose crinkling and eye rolling last week after I wrote that former NBA center Will Perdue was convinced that Indiana junior Victor Oladipo was the most NBA-ready player in the draft.
How could that be?
Didn't Oladipo need more work on his jump shot? Didn't he measure at only 6 feet 3-1/4 without shoes during the NBA Scouting Combine in Chicago? Wouldn't the combination of questions about his size and the consistency of his shot make him a risky pick in the Top Five of this draft?
The word is that NBA teams were impressed by Oladipo's athletic skills as well as his intellect (he earned a degree in three seasons at IU) while scouting him in Chicago two weeks ago. Ben Baroff wrote the piece with a headline that said Oladipo is soaring on the draft board, a lock to go in the first five spots.
Cleveland is not likely to take Oladipo with the first pick. Nerlens Noel of Kentucky remains that guy. But Cleveland has not ruled out anything, which should not be surprising considering Noel is coming off a serious knee injury.
He said that Oladipo was a lock to be taken in the first five spots with Orlando (second pick), Charlotte selecting fourth and Phoenix fifth the most likely destinations.
One NBA general manager was quoted saying this about Oladipo:
"I know he's the one guy in this draft that my head coach would love to have right now. He's an impressive young man on and off the court."
IU coach Tom Crean has been saying that from the moment Oladipo arrived from DeMatha High School in suburban Washington D.C. three years ago.
Oladipo's IU teammate Cody Zeller, another likely Top 10 pick in this draft, is not surprised. He told Sean Devaney of The Sporting News about Oladipo's boundless work ethic in this post.
But Zeller also said he is conceding nothing to Oladipo on draft night:
"Oh, I definitely want to be drafted ahead of him. Both of us, we are competitive, and we are always going at it. Through the course of this year, that is how it was, and it has made us both better. As a competitor, we are always going to measure up against each other and I know it kills him when I beat him. So if I can, that will be fun."