NBA scout weighs-in on Zeller, Oladipo and Watford

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I spoke to an NBA scout this morning about his thoughts on Indiana’s Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford, and their stocks for the next level.

First, on Zeller. Even though some early mock drafts put UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad and Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel ahead of him, the NBA scout doesn’t see it going that way. Assuming, of course, that Zeller exits school after his sophomore year.

“I don’t see how Zeller isn’t the No. 1 pick,” the scout said. “He’s the best all-around player for a big guy, and the NBA is desperate for big guys. He’s a good kid, the NBA is totally desperate for good kids. I just can’t see that guy not being the No. 1 pick.

“I saw Nerlens, and he is going to be an NBA player. He’s extremely long, he has a good jumper, but no he’s not as skilled as Zeller.”

The scout said he doesn’t know whether Zeller can be a franchise-changing player when he comes out, but he believes he’ll be a productive NBA player.

“He runs the floor, he can play center and power forward,” he said. “He’s not gonna have a major impact as far as scoring, but he’s going to have a major impact as far as being a team player because he’s got it all. He can block shots, he runs the floor, he’s got pretty decent moves, he can shoot a little bit. I think he’s going to be a really, really good player immediately for an NBA team.”

There has been some speculation — mostly because of Indiana’s complicated scholarship situation for next year — that Oladipo may put his name in the hat for the NBA Draft after this season. Oladipo has certainly improved a lot early this season, but he’s still not a consistent shooter from the outside.

The NBA scout I spoke to sees Oladipo as an NBA talent, but he doesn’t see him leaving early.

“He’s going to make it through Indiana,” the scout said. “That’s just my own personal opinion. But I think he will get drafted. His defense is something people appreciate, and he can drive that ball and shoot the ball a little bit. I would say probably late first or early second. But he’s got a good chance to be a first-round pick if he stays.”

I also asked the scout about Watford, a senior forward who flirted with the NBA after last season but opted to return to school. Watford seems to have hurt his stock for the next level early this season, struggling to shoot it consistently from the outside. But as we’ve seen during his career, Watford usually gets hot at some point during the season.

“Here’s the thing: He’s gotta shoot from the outside,” the scout said of Watford. “He’s gotta show people that he’s a good 3-point shooter. That’s the commodity that they’re looking for. He’s got length, but if he had that range to go along with it, he’s gonna get drafted by somebody. But if he has like a shooting slump, then it ain’t gonna happen. He’s not athletic enough to make it if he’s not a 3-point shooter.”

  • marcusgresham

    Will needs to work on his dribbling, Vic needs to work on his shooting. Is one easier to improve than the other?

  • marcusgresham

    The biggest problem with his team defense is that he often gets sucked down into the lane and doesn’t rotate back quickly enough to an outside shooter.

  • OCChoosier

    Have any of you watched the NBA? At times they do not play defense, but how do you think Zeller, Watford, Oladipo, and Hulls would fare up with these guys. It is a huge jump that no one really pays much attention to. Zeller would be going up against the best of the best at center. Could he score against Dwight Howard? Watford at small or power forward going up against Kevin Durant LeBron James? Or Oladipo at shooting guard going up against Kobe Bryant? We all love Hulls and want him to do well but seriously, do you think he could guard any point guards or get a shot off at his height? Think he could guard Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, or Deron Williams? Rajon Rondo stands at 6’1″ and is probably one of the shortest point guards in the league. We all want our Hoosiers to succeed, but in reality to get drafted for the NBA is damn near impossible. It takes the whole package to be an NBA player, and these players are not ready…yet. Zeller and Oladipo should stay.

  • marcusgresham

    I don’t think Cody will be playing the 5 in the NBA.

  • TrenchAce

    sounds like this nba scout was disseminating some massive disinformation

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