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- Measurables: 6-foot-4, 213 pounds, junior forward from the Indiana University.
- Key Stats: 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.2 steals and 0.8 blocks per game; shot 60 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point territory.
- Projected: Top-5 pick.
- Hickory High similarity score
He’ll flat out admit it, as he did at the NBA Draft Combine this week, but Victor Oladipo is a weird dude. There’s nothing wrong with that — some guys just march to the beat of their own drum — but Oladipo is his own man. He’s a gym rat, a guy who’s improved his game infinitely since he arrived in Bloomington, Ind., three years ago.
But apparently he’s not all hoops. He’s actually got some pipes, which were on display at the Spirit of Indiana Showcase two years ago when he covered Usher’s hit, “U Got It Bad,” via BroBible:
It turns out he’s not just stealing the ball from opposing ball handlers, but also stealing the hearts of Indiana coeds since 2010.
Fits with the Pistons because …
Where to start? He’s a high-energy, high-effort guy who never seems to take a play off. Defensively, he would step in as the Pistons’ best perimeter defender since Tayshaun Prince in 2008, and that alone makes him worth a selection in the top-8 picks.
The thing about a weak draft like this is there are only two ways of drafting — you’re either gambling on a high-risk, high-reward guy or taking the safe bet. Sure, the ridicule of passing on a potential future superstar is difficult, but at the same time, you’re avoiding drafting the next Michael Olowokandi, too.
Comparing Oladipo to Dwyane Wade is extremely lazy, but there’s a short list of guys in this draft who aren’t going to get you fired. Oladpio is one of them. Oladipo’s on the shorter side (6-foot-4), but with a 6-foot-9 wingspan and elite athleticism, he’ll provide defense from day one. Plus, he’ll slide into a team’s offensive system relatively smoothly due to his versatility.
It’s become a common practice in today’s NBA, but more and more teams are relying heavily on guys who aren’t A+ offensive players, but make up the difference on defense. Whether it’s Danny Green in San Antonio, Tony Allen (a very good Oladipo comparison) in Memphis or Shane Battier in Miami, these guys don’t make or break you offensively, but they impact the game on defense.
If the Pistons need help in one area, it’s defense. Even if they have something of a logjam at shooting guard with Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey, the insertion of Oladipo into the lineup is going to improve the team’s perimeter defense — a glaring weakness last season with apathetic defenders like Jose Calderon and, and to varying degrees, Will Bynum and Stuckey playing big minutes.
Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …
For all the good he brings on defense, he’s still a work in progress offensively. He’s athletic, and that’s something of a must for perimeter players in today’s NBA, but he doesn’t really handle the ball well and makes way too many turnovers.
The majority of his offense at Indiana came off of open shots created by Cody Zeller down low or the fact that the team spaced the floor with 3-point shooters at every position. For a Pistons’ team that struggles to space the floor for Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond due to some questionable perimeter shooting, Oladipo won’t help the spacing problems.
Tony Allen is the trendy comparison, and it’s one that I actually like because people sometimes forget how explosive Allen was prior to tearing his ACL early in his career. Allen’s not a great shooter, and although Oladipo has a set shot, he’s not a threat to create his own offense and there are questions as to how his shooting range will translate to the NBA 3-point line.
Oladipo fits the mold of the trendy 3-and-D wing player. As I mentioned above, those guys are extremely valuable, even if they’re limited offensively. He’s going to need to solidify his jump shot from the NBA 3-point line in order to truly fit into that mold because, as of right now, he’s just a good set-midrange shooter.
But really, if he does that and his ceiling becomes what he was in college this year — albeit less efficient than 60/44/75 — are you really mad about drafting him? He’s a safe pick, and if that’s what the Pistons are looking for he’s their guy, assuming he’s around wherever they’re picking after tonight’s lottery.
The biggest problem with Oladipo is going to be where he lands. There are some guys who have a role and will be good in that role no matter where they are. There are some guys like that who are thrown into roles too large for them due to poor talent around them and things go down hill from there. Oladipo is what he is. He’s not going to be a scorer for you. That’s why Michael Kidd-Gilchrist struggled in Charlotte. He was out of his element, and Oladipo faces similar challenges.
From the Experts
Oladipo is the best perimeter defender in the country and an elite athlete who plays at a relentless pace. He’s still a work in progress offensively, but he can guard three positions on the floor and is an elite finisher at the rim. His shooting has dramatically improved, as have his ballhandling skills, but they’ll need to continue to improve for Oladipo to be a scorer at the next level. Look for him to go somewhere between No. 3 and No. 8 in the draft.
With the ability to guard up to four positions at the college level, Oladipo projects to be able to defend all three perimeter positions at the NBA level, depending on matchups. He has the speed and quickness to cover point guards, and his athleticism, strength, and toughness should enable him to guard most small forwards as well. Coaches will likely value the flexibility Oladipo gives them on the defensive end, as they can cross-match and hide weaker defenders while putting Oladipo on the opposing team’s top perimeter threat, regardless of position.