The Cleveland Cavaliers will have thefirst pick and the 19th pick in this upcoming draft. In the next few weeks here at Right Down Euclid, we will be profiling players the Cavaliers might draft in the first round on June 27th. Today, we profile Victor Oladipo.
Tale of the Tape
Name: Victor Oladipo
Weight: 215 lbs.
Honors: 2013 All-America 1st Team, NABC Defensive Player of the Year, Sporting News Player of the Year
2012-2013 Per Game Stats: 13.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 59.9 FG%, 44.1 3PT%, 74.6 FT%
NCAA Tournament Stats: 14.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 60.0 FG% in 3 NCAA Tournament Games
If you haven’t noticed the trend in the draft profiles since the draft lottery, I’ve mostly been sticking to players who will be available at the 19th pick, rather than assessing the top prospects. Why? Because I’ve been locked in on the Cavaliers drafting Nerlens Noel with the top pick. However, the last week or so has been filled with news that the Cavs aren’t completely sold on Noel and have been considering other options. I am steadfast in my opinion, but it is becoming clear that this isn’t a consensus opinion. Therefore, let’s break down one of the other options the Cavs could go with, and the option that fellow Right Down Euclid writer Dan Pilar wants the Cavs to take: Indiana wing Victor Oladipo.
Physically, Oladipo is a freak. A 6’4” guard with a 6’9” wingspan, Oladipo has the size to compete with anyone in any NBA backcourt. Oladipo’s size lends to him being a beastly rebounder for a shooting guard and is why many scouts think he has the potential to be a dominant perimeter defender at the next level. Another thing that is really impressive about Oladipo is his quickness and body control on the fast break. Oladipo is a killer guard in transition, and his ability to run the floor and squirt through a defense like toothpaste through a tube is unparalleled. His combination of quickness and strength also makes him very adept at fighting screens on defense and battling for rebounds with bigger players. There’s a lot to love about Oladipo’s physical profile.
When we discussed Otto Porter way back in April, I made a big deal of Porter’s abilities as a slasher and offensive weapon without the ball. Oladipo takes that to another level with his abilities in both the halfcourt and on the break. Oladipo moves really fluidly off the ball and is a smart cutter, finding open lanes and always keeping his head on a swivel expecting a pass. He extends this to the break, where he finds perfect lanes to the hoop through transition defenses and can blow past defenders with a variety of head fakes and brilliant moves to get to the rim. Oladipo’s incredible at scoring at the rim and that’s where a majority of his points are going to come right away at the next level, whether it be through fast break buckets, slashing to the basket, attacking off the dribble or finishing offensive putbacks. Oladipo’s a smart offensive rebounder, and this will aid him as a slasher, as it offers him more looks if his cuts aren’t used.
Oladipo’s shooting is an interesting part of his game. His numbers were outstanding last season, this is certain. He shot 59.9 percent from the field and 44.1 percent from downtown. However, you have to consider that these numbers could be slightly anomalous. After all, Oladipo shot 21 percent from three as a sophomore, and after a scolding-hot December and January where he shot 67 percent from deep, he tailed off a lot toward the end of the season, shooting 33 percent in March, and he only had three games where he hit multiple threes. Oladipo also really didn’t have much of a mid-range game and overall didn’t rely on much outside the paint for scoring. He also really struggles to create his own shot, finding catch-and-shoot situations much more preferable. This is going to have to change at the next level, where Oladipo is not going to be able to rely exclusively on slashing to score.
Defensively, Oladipo has great potential as a perimeter defender. He already has experience doing this at Indiana, where Oladipo was nearly always on the opponent’s best player, whether it be DeShaun Thomas, Brandon Paul or Trey Burke. Oladipo can definitely guard all three perimeter positions and uses his big hands and long arms to be disruptive both on the ball and off the ball. On the ball, Oladipo has few issues frustrating opponents by not allowing them to drive by him at all and cuts down passing lanes with his size. Off the ball, he uses his quick hands and anticipation skills to grab more than a fair share of steals, which he led the Big Ten in with 2.2 per game. Oladipo also jumped down to the post a few times last season for Indiana and can affect shots with his length as well. Overall, Oladipo’s calling card is his defense, where he has no major holes and should be NBA-ready as a defensive juggernaut.
Oladipo’s effort certainly won’t be called into question at any point. He’s an incredibly tough player with a non-stop motor, and he was often the most consistent player effort-wise for the Hoosiers last year. There are, however, questions about Oladipo’s potential as an all-around player. While his offensive game looks like something that will be productive at the next level, it’s hard to tell whether Oladipo will be able to develop into a real second or third option capable of putting up more than 12 or 13 points per game. However, there is no denying that Oladipo will be a potent defensive player at the next level, and he’s definitely going to find a spot in someone’s rotation. Whether that is ever in a larger role than complimentary, however, remains to be seen.
Hmm…..a shooting guard who was incredibly destructive defensively coming out of college but couldn’t score unless it was in transition or off offensive rebounds? Sounds like……why hello, Andre Iguodala!! While Iggy was far worse shooting the ball than Oladipo coming out of Arizona, he did develop into a decent scorer for the 76ers and has always been a very good defensive player. While Iguodala’s a bit bigger than Oladipo (actually physically, he matches up well with Jamaal Franklin, while Oladipo’s physical profile is a better match for Tony Allen, weird). If Oladipo can duplicate Iguodala’s development as a scorer, he should be a future All-Star in this league because I think Oladipo could be better than Iguodala on the defensive end.
How Does He Fit on the Cavaliers?
I’ve been against the drafting of Oladipo for Cleveland, partly because I think Noel is the better prospect and partly because I think by drafting Oladipo, you essentially give up on Dion Waiters as your future shooting guard, which I’m not quite ready to do yet. Because of this, I honestly have struggled to figure out where Oladipo fits in. However, to make the case for Oladipo, here’s Dan Pilar:
His athleticism, explosiveness and motor speak for themselves. They’re as good as you’re going to get out of a rookie. His improved shooting and dribbling is what’s making him in the conversation to be the No. 1 overall pick. Some criticize him for his offensive game even though he shot 60 percent from the field, including 45 percent from three-point range. It doesn’t matter how many attempts you have, 45 percent is 45 percent. I believe this pick screams Mike Brown. If Brown had to make up a player in his mind, it would certainly resemble Oladipo. With a new coaching regime comes a new team attitude, and Oladipo brings an exact attitude that Anderson Varejao has: work hard, play hard (on the court). Now, it may not make sense drafting shooting guards in back-to-back years. And for that I have this: a good coach will be able to get his best players on the court at the same time when it matters most – doesn’t matter what position they play. I believe Oladipo will be a perfect compliment to Kyrie Irving and Waiters, and will have a long, successful career in Cleveland.