Draft watch: Oladipo continues rise toward lottery

IUNDSITH0012It’s been a month since our last examination of the NBA Draft outlook for this year’s Indiana team and the key takeaway from the last month is the steady rise of junior Victor Oladipo toward the lottery. Let’s get to it:

Cody Zeller
ESPN: (7) Draft Express: (4) NBADraft.net: (3)

· Analysis: Zeller’s stock has remained as a high lottery pick, but the talk of him going No. 1 overall has cooled considerably since the initial 2013 mock drafts were revealed. But when you take a closer look, it’s hard to pinpoint a legitimate reason for much, if any, change in his stock. In one of the nation’s most balanced and efficient offenses, Zeller is the key cog. His recent play has him right back in the thick of things in the national player of the year and Big Ten player of the year discussion. He won co-Big Ten player of the week honors after Indiana beat Purdue and Michigan last week and through nine conference games, Zeller is averaging 16.1 points and 8.8 rebounds. Perhaps NBA scouts want to see more Zeller dominant games more frequently, but on a team with six guys who are capable of going out and scoring 20, that’s unlikely to happen.

· Expert opinion: “Zeller played with extraordinary energy and toughness against Michigan. When he plays like that, there isn’t a better offensive big man in the country. He doesn’t give that effort every night, but he does it enough that it’s hard to argue that anyone else in college basketball is obviously better.” – ESPN.com’s Chad Ford

Victor Oladipo
ESPN: (15) Draft Express: (21) NBADraft.net: (32)

· Analysis: ESPN.com draft guru Chad Ford has been leading the charge to promote Oladipo’s candidacy as a lottery pick and it’s hard to argue his point. The major hole in Oladipo’s game entering the season was his perimeter shot and he’s shooting 51.4 percent on threes as a junior. He’s also been ridiculously efficient on twos this season (67.8 percent) and his defense has also improved tremendously (5.1 steal percentage, 2.8 block percentage). His prowess as a lockdown defender was on full display Saturday night as Oladipo guarded four different Michigan players (Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr.) effectively in IU’s 81-73 win. Oladipo has shined all season on the biggest stages and as a result, his draft stock has skyrocketed.

· Expert opinion: “Given his trajectory and Zeller’s fall, I don’t think it’s out of the question that Oladipo goes ahead of Zeller on draft night.” – ESPN.com’s Chad Ford

Christian Watford
ESPN: (167) Draft Express: (No. 32 senior) NBADraft.net: (N/A)

· Analysis: Watford returned for his senior season for a chance to play for a Big Ten title and national championship and potentially improve his draft stock, but he’s mostly off the radar at this point despite this fact: He’s having the best season of his career. He’s rebounding more effectively, particularly on the defensive glass, and getting to the line at a high rate (56.3 free throw rate). Maybe it’s time to stop discussing Watford’s stock and just appreciate him for what he is: A very good college player who will play somewhere professionally next season.

Yogi Ferrell
ESPN: (161) Draft Express: (No. 30 freshman) NBADraft.net: (N/A)

· Analysis: Ferrell will be back in Bloomington next season, but his continued development is certainly catching the eyes of NBA scouts who attend Indiana games. All freshman go through growing pains, but Ferrell’s play as of late is a big reason why the Hoosiers have won five straight and are back at No. 1. He’s averaging 11 points on 18-of-30 shooting in that span and his on-ball defense against guys like Burke, Keith Appling and D.J. Newbill is one of many reasons he was named to the midseason watch list for the Wayman Tisdale Award that honors the country’s top freshman.

  • Kenneth234

    I agree Ron Artest was special for those reasons. Victor could rival his effectiveness on the defensive end of the floor at defending the premier guard on the other team. Victor would get the nod on anything athleticism based on the comparison with Artest, but as psychopath, there really is not much of a comparison; Artest is miles ahead in that category.

  • sloan screen #45

    I appreciate the effort CWat has put forth lately. But, all of your points are valid concerning the NBA. Just a warning, plan on taking some heat. Many on here cant look at such topics from an unbiased perspective.

  • sloan screen #45

    I want VO and CZ to stay as much as anybody but its time for some people to step out of LA LA Land and realize they are GONE. Its just the way things are in the world we live in now. Cant turn down the money. Cant take the risk. NBA is not looking for seniors they are looking for younger guys and looking at potential. There could be another great group of freshmen in next years draft and VO and CZ slide way down. Cant take that risk. I am sure CTC will tell them to go.

  • marcusgresham

    I’d said earlier that he hadn’t taken a bad shot all year. I have to rescind that statement after he chucked up the 3 with a minute or so left, but what the hell; everyone’s entitled to one minor mistake.
    He’s also the kind of kid you’d be thrilled to have your daughter bring home.

  • unclekerfuffle

    Then I think that increases the chances that he goes to the NBA after this year.

  • sloan screen #45

    I made a real effort to sit down and watch the Pacers v Heat the other day. Couldnt do it for long. Its terrible. No effort on defense. Everybody stand around and watch one guy go one on one. The real problem is what happens in the NBA eventually makes it to cbb. Sad.

  • Daren Collentine

    Yea he even shoots a better 3-point percentage.

  • Daren Collentine

    He’s still an adult. I don’t think they will make up his mind for him.

  • Daren Collentine

    need a center in there

  • Cory Robinson

    I would hang with anybody on the planet with wanting this dream….but it just won’t happen…..many friends I have that are friends with the the players say they are gone at the end of this season.

  • Cory Robinson

    I can see where you are coming from….but WE have not EVER had an athletic player like Vic…..VERY possible you could be eating crow this time next year!

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I applaud the misspelling. It was enough to being Danner out of hiding!

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I applaud the misspelling. It was enough to being Danner out of hiding!

  • kaponya13

    So Kenneth are you implying through omission that Mo Creek wont be back here next year …Remember he is a Junior .

  • Kenneth234

    Junior in eligibility, but he would be a 5th year guy. And eventually, we really must be honest about his situation. Basically, his playing days, or at least his ability to get back to a level in which he could get paid to play is behind him, as unfortunate as it is. It may be time for him to think about what the next stage of his life will include, especially since I believe he has already started a family.

  • Kenneth234

    Junior in eligibility, but he would be a 5th year guy. And eventually, we really must be honest about his situation. Basically, his playing days, or at least his ability to get back to a level in which he could get paid to play is behind him, as unfortunate as it is. It may be time for him to think about what the next stage of his life will include, especially since I believe he has already started a family.

  • vic4prez

    It’s over they are gone! Enjoy them while it last… I think Vic’s upside is very high. His ability to learn is what is impressive. Sky’s the limit!

  • sloan screen #45

    I would love to eat crow if they come back. But, its not gonna happen.

  • CreanFaithful

    No way that was intentional… That’s just crazy! Or is it?

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