After months of mock drafts, workouts and interviews, Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo will learn their new homes tonight when their names are called in the NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
In our final edition of draft watch, we’ll look at final mock draft predictions as of Monday morning, an updated scout’s take and give our best fit at the next level for both players:
ESPN: (2 to Orlando) Draft Express: (5 to Phoenix) NBADraft.net: (2 to Orlando) Sports Illustrated: (5 to Phoenix)
· Analysis: Of the four major mocks tracked for the final draft watch, two have Oladipo going to Orlando at No. 2. This is, of course, contingent on Cleveland taking Nerlens Noel at No. 1. If the Cavs opt for Alex Len at No. 1, the Magic would likely opt for Noel at No. 2, which would also shake up subsequent picks. Oladipo doesn’t seem to be in play at No. 3 (Washington) or No. 4 (Charlotte), so if the Magic pass, he’d likely be the pick for Phoenix at No. 5. Minnesota is another team that has strong interest in Oladipo, but would need to move up from No. 9 in order to pick him.
· Best Fit: If the choice is between landing in Orlando or Phoenix, and it appears that it is, the Magic are a much better fit for Oladipo. They have a relatively new GM in Rob Hennigan, who worked for San Antonio and Oklahoma City prior to being hired in Orlando and is well thought of in NBA circles at just 31 years old. Phoenix, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have ownership that is committed to winning, which is a recipe for a permanent spot in the lottery.
· Scout Says: “Love his makeup. Great worker. On defense he plays like Tony Allen. He took very limited attempts to get that high (three-point) percentage. My question is, has he had his big jump already of improvement? The fact that he’s a top five pick is an indictment of this draft.” — Anonymous scout to Seth Davis.
ESPN: (11 to Philadelphia) Draft Express: (11 to Philadelphia) NBADraft.net: (4 to Charlotte) Sports Illustrated: (11 to Philadelphia)
· Analysis: Zeller worked out for 10 of the 14 lottery teams: Orlando, Charlotte, Phoenix, Sacramento, Detroit, Minnesota, Portland, Phoenix, Oklahoma City and Utah. ESPN.com’s Chad Ford reported on Wednesday that Zeller could be in play at No. 4 to the Bobcats, but he’s also been heavily linked to Minnesota, Portland and Philadelphia.
· Best Fit: Of the five teams (Charlotte, Detroit, Minnesota, Portland and Philadelphia) that seem to be seriously considering Zeller, the three that stand out as the best situations are Detroit, Portland and Philadelphia. All three franchises, assuming Andrew Bynum remains in Philly, have established big men he can play alongside. Portland is intriguing because they get out in transition and have the best point guard of the three in Damian Lillard. Philadelphia looks to be moving in the right direction under new GM Sam Hinkie.
· Scout Says: “The best running big man in the draft. He’s a better face-up player than we were shown in college. He has to get stronger on his post-ups, but he handles the ball well for a guy his size. If he develops a jump shot, that will give him more space to drive. I think he has great upside. When you talk to him, you see he’s an elite human being. He really gets it, and physically he’s an elite athlete.” — Anonymous scout to Seth Davis.