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:
Victor Oladipo 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.
Cody Zeller came to Indiana with impossible expectations.
And so maybe there’s some freedom and change on the horizon as he makes the leap to the next level.
He’s no longer the program savior taking the Hoosiers back to the promised land. Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine won’t be asking him to grace their covers this season. The golden boy glamour fades, and he simply becomes another young kid trying to establish himself during the grueling slog of an 82-game NBA season — arriving in cities he’s never visited in the middle of cold winter nights.
His relative anonymity may also lead to a basketball re-invention.
Tom Crean asked Zeller to do what was best for the team in the halfcourt — use his height and athleticism to either score or draw fouls and go to the line. It was a role, for the most part, he excelled at. The 2012-13 Hoosiers had plenty of perimeter shooters in an offense that led the nation in efficiency for most of the season; Zeller’s offense outside of the post simply wasn’t needed. But the Washington native’s back-to-the-basket game wasn’t always smooth. It’s unlikely his best path to offensive success in the league, especially against bigger and better talent. (Though that’s not to say he can’t get buckets at the rim. He’ll just need to pick his spots.)
So Zeller may have to look elsewhere to bring offensive value in the NBA. He can use his quickness in a face-up game when the matchup calls for it. (If he lands at No. 10 to Portland, LaMarcus Aldridge would be a great mentor to show him the ropes here.) But it’s perhaps more likely that his jumper that never really saw the light of day in Bloomington will be most essential for Zeller if he wants to become a consistent starter or rotation player.
Former Indiana All-American Cody Zeller did a radio tour on Monday afternoon in advance of Thursday’s NBA Draft, making stops on several national shows, including “The Hayes Advantage” on Bloomberg Radio.
With host Kathleen Hayes, Zeller discussed his viewpoint on compensation for college athletes, his decision to enter the draft, the style of play he’d best fit with in the NBA and much more.
On whether he is pleased he stayed in school an extra year over entering last year’s NBA draft:
“Yes. I was definitely excited to stay two years at Indiana. I could have left after my freshman year, but a big part of it had to do with not being as close to graduating as I am now. Right now I’m 35 credits from graduating from the Kelley School of Business after two years, so that’s definitely within reach now.”
On how tough the decision was to enter draft this year coming from a family that values education:
“It was tough for me, but like I said I’m within reach on it to go back for two summers to finish up, but education is important to our whole family just because you’ve got to have something to do after your basketball career ends. So it is very important to me.”
On the biggest challenge he faces moving to the NBA:
“I think it will be an adjustment just moving to a new city where I won’t know anyone, being 20 years old and on my own. And I think after I get settled in and meet new people that I don’t think it will be a huge adjustment for me, but I’m definitely excited to figure out where I’m going so I can find a place to live and start getting going with all this.”
On critics who feel he should have entered the draft last year:
“No. I don’t worry about that at all. Like I said, an education is a big part of me, so I’m closer to graduating. And we had a great year this year and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
On whether he is surprised more players do not think about education:
“Yes. Somewhat. I think college basketball, playing here in the U.S. in college basketball is unlike anything else, playing in March Madness, playing against the best competition, for me personally I wouldn’t trade that for anything if I had the opportunity.”
Just one week remains until the 2013 NBA Draft and with several mock drafts updated this week, it’s time for another look at where Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo are currently projected to be selected as well as some recent buzz on Christian Watford.
Victor Oladipo ESPN: (2 to Orlando) Draft Express: (5 to Phoenix) NBADraft.net: (7 to Sacramento) SheridanHoops.com: (2 to Orlando)
· Analysis: Oladipo worked out Wednesday in Cleveland along with Ben McLemore, Otto Porter and Jamaal Franklin. He’s also worked out for Phoenix and Orlando, the two teams most frequently mentioned as potential landing spots, and declined a workout for the Washington Wizards, according to The Washington Post. ESPN.com’s Chad Ford said Tuesday on Sportscenter that the Cavaliers haven’t decided which direction they’ll go with the No. 1 pick and the fact that Oladipo, McLemore and Porter were all brought in this week seems to indicate the franchise is doing its due diligence. That said, Ford is still projecting Nerlens Noel at No. 1 while adding that Oladipo has the upper hand over McLemore at No. 2 to Orlando.
· Expert Opinion: “With a potential hole at shooting guard to fill, the Magic have their choice of Ben McLemore and Oladipo. Both guards represent better value and have higher ceilings than Trey Burke. The current preference is Oladipo, who projects as a better defender and is a better athlete than McLemore. Although McLemore has been as high as No. 1 in our mocks, Oladipo looks to be making a push. Considering Orlando GM Rob Hennigan came from Oklahoma City, going with a player that has a high upside, high character and is very long and athletic makes the most sense. While Oladipo has continually risen up NBA draft boards, McLemore has started to slip a bit, and that could see him fall more than initially anticipated.” – SheridanHoops.com.
With individual and group workouts well underway and just over three weeks until the 2013 NBA Draft, it’s time for an updated look at where Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo are currently projected to be selected later this month.
In our latest update, we’ll look at updated projections for both players and also share some updated expert analysis:
Victor Oladipo ESPN: (2 to Orlando) Draft Express: (5 to Phoenix) NBADraft.net: (5 to Phoenix) SheridanHoops.com: (4 to Charlotte)
· Analysis: Oladipo was one of the stories of the combine as he confirmed what those of us who have watched him for the last three years know: He’s a freak athlete. Combine that with his rapid improvement and enormous upside and it’s not surprising that Oladipo, who worked out for the Magic last week, appears to be in the mix at No. 2 overall. Phoenix is also mentioned often for Oladipo and he’ll work out for the Suns today. According to Tom Crean, the former IU guard will also work out for Cleveland and Charlotte. At this point, Oladipo seems like a lock to be picked in the top five, which is quite the meteoric rise for a guy who wasn’t ranked in the top 100 coming out of high school.
· Expert opinion: “If you’re talking about the guy who is going to come in and be the most effective player from day one, it’s Oladipo. He’s got that ‘It’ Factor,” that it takes to be successful in the league. A lot of guys in this draft don’t have that. There’s no doubt he plays with an edge. Watching him play defense this season, I wouldn’t have any hesitation putting him into an NBA game and letting him guard Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade or Kobe Bryant from day one. I think he’s that good defensively.” – Will Perdue, former Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trailblazers center and ESPN radio analyst.
The 2013 NBA Draft lottery took place Tuesday night which revealed the order of the top 14 picks and allowed various analysts to update their mock projections with team needs taken into consideration
Here are the lottery results: 1. Cleveland Cavaliers, 2. Orlando Magic, 3. Washington Wizards, 4. Charlotte Bobcats, 5. Phoenix Suns, 6. New Orleans Pelicans, 7. Sacramento Kings, 8. Detroit Pistons, 9. Minnesota Timberwolves, 10. Portland Trail Blazers, 11. Philadelphia 76ers, 12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Raptors), 13. Dallas Mavericks, 14. Utah Jazz
And here are several updated projections for Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller:
While there’s no true consensus with either guy, Oladipo looks to have firmed up a spot in the top five, with Charlotte and Phoenix as the most mentioned destinations. A look at the fit in each franchise:
· Phoenix: “You have to think that the Suns are going to head more towards defense, and they need a wing who can score with some muscle, making Jared Dudley movable. This is perfect and a good way to start off a new era in Phoenix.” – Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com.
· Charlotte: “With Rich Cho in charge of the Bobcats, the decision will likely be to address Charlotte’s putrid offense. The Bobcats were 26th in scoring and 27th in 3-point shooting, two areas where Oladipo can help right away. With Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the Bobcats would like to slide someone between them and complement their skill sets. Oladipo is not projected as a 20-point scorer but he improved dramatically as a shooter and has the athleticism and upside to be an impact starter on both ends of the court. With Oladipo, Charlotte gets one of the highest upside players in the draft, but more importantly a guy who will come in and potentially become a team leader.” – Joe Kotoch of SheridanHoops.com.
Zeller’s projections range all the way from Phoenix at No. 5 to Philadelphia at No. 11. The 76ers have been frequently mentioned as possible landing spot:
· Philadelphia: “The Cody Zeller bandwagon is officially filling up again. All it took was an incredible display of athletic prowess at the draft combine to convince NBA teams who had soured on him to give him another look. Of course, we all knew Zeller was athletic, but few knew he was capable of what he did at the combine. Zeller is trying to make the transition to the four and seems like an obvious fit in Philly — a team without a legitimate four man on its roster.” – Chad Ford of ESPN.com.
With the combine and lottery now in the books, the next step for both players will be setting up workouts with teams and continuing to prep for the draft, which takes place five weeks from tomorrow at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
· Height w/o Shoes: 6′ 10.75” · Height with Shoes: 7′ 0.25” · Wt.: 230 · Wingspan: 6’10.75″ · Reach: 8’10” · Body Fat: 4.75 · Hand Length: 8.5 · Hand Width: 10.5 · 3/4 sprint: 3.15 · Lane agility: 10.82 · Modified lane agility: 2.69 · Standing vertical: 35.5″ · Max vertical: 37.5″
· Analysis: After drawing more scrutiny than any other player during the college hoops season, Zeller stepped onto the floor on Friday at the combine and stood out in the testing against his peers. His standing vertical of 35.5 inches was the best ever recorded at the combine for a player 6-foot-9 or taller. Zeller also fared favorably in the 3/4 sprint, lane agility and modified lane agility tests. Zeller was criticized for his play against Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament, but his athleticism really stood out at the combine and that should help him move up in the draft.