Friday, June 7, 2013

Making the Case for Drafting Oladipo

I've been thinking long and hard about who out of Trey BurkeBen McLemore, and Victor Oladipo should be drafted #2 overall by the Magic on June 27th. I keep going with Oladipo. There's nothing to not like about the Indiana Junior. Nothing. He's 21 years old and reminds me of a Dwyane Wade-Luol Deng hybrid who at worst would be a Tony Allen type of player. Those players in each of their special ways are undeniable contributors to championship-caliber rosters. 

Don't expect Rob Hennigan to reveal his hand. 'Henny' is showing how creatively elusive he can be in hiding who the front office wishes to draft. The whole 'considering 9 players' thing is a wonderful smokescreen. It also opens the door for teams looking to desperately trade up to grab their guy. See the T-Wolves rumor about wanting Oladipo badly

My main concern with Oladipo is his height. Victor measured into Chicago's draft combine at a tad bit over 6'3" without shoes and a bit over 6'4" in shoes. That makes him a little shorter than Ben McLemore and Arron Afflalo. Afflalo is listed at 6'5" but that's quite generous in my eyes. However, Oladipo's wingspan of just over 6'9" is phenomenal and negates that height problem. It explains why Victor is a premiere defender and how he can crash the boards superbly for his position. Oladipo also passes the 'eye test' in interviews and just how he carries himself on the court. He's not absurdly cocky but there's no lack in confidence in his abilities. 

I've got to give the RealGM guys credit for these works of Magic logo copycat art. 

McLemore was SO passive at Kansas it scares me. Ben had his upperclassmen teammates looking at him to take over in important parts of contests, but McLemore very rarely rose to the challenge. Here's a very Orlando-specific interview you can enjoy that reveals a lot about Ben's character and thinking of how he'd enjoy living in the City Beautiful. Dwight, Disney, and BBQ are just a few topics touched on. McLemore will be working out in front of the Magic brass on June 11th. The main argument that supporters give in favor of McLemore is that the system he played for in Kansas wasn't ideal for him to show off his individual and athletic abilities. McLemore mentioned that in this recent interview. It's the same supporting argument I would have made for Marcus Smart had he remained in the draft in that the system he plays in at Oklahoma State doesn't show off his NBA capabilities. I just don't think Ben can be as creative off the ball as Oladipo and Victor's defensive prowess blows Ben's out of the water. 

Burke to me isn't worth a top 5 pick. Is Trey faster, longer, and taller than Jameer Nelson? Yes. But Orlando can find a potential starting point guard in men such as Myck KabongoC.J. McCollumDennis SchroederMichael Carter-Williams, or even local tiny man Shane Larkin, later in the draft by trading into the teens. How? Dangle a guy like Arron Afflalo (or even Glen Davis) to teams desperate to compete in the postseason in exchange for their first round pick and an unwanted contract. Of course, Afflalo could already be used in Clippers trade discussions.

Out of the point guard group of 2013 draftees I like Kabongo the most, and yet he's projected as a 2nd rounder right now. Or the Magic can ride another full season out with Jameer Nelson, sign a suitable backup that's better than Doron Lamb or E'Twaun Moore and just wait it out until a better crop of point guards is expected to come out in the 2014 Draft

There's still the matter of the $17.8 million Traded Player Exception from the Dwight Howard deal that expires on August 10th. There are franchises desperate for cap space. Orlando can accommodate that need no problem. Unfortunately for Magic fans, the TPE can't be utilized to acquire a draft pick. 

There's a lot of thinking, interview, and examining for the the Magic organization to do in these next few weeks. All Magic fans should know is that Hennigan and is crew can definitely be trusted with the small wonders they've already done just a year on the job. 

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