By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)
The NBA Draft is being held Thursday night and there is still tons of speculation flying as to where players will land. There are rumors about which teams want which players and some teams trying to trade up in the order. There aren’t any superstars according to scouts in this draft but the depth is deep as rotation players can be found throughout the top 35 picks. After focusing on some sleepers and players that could be busts, here is a look at some players that look like sure things in a draft void of them.
Victor Oladipo, Shooting Guard, Indiana: Oladipo is slightly undersized for the shooting guard position
but he makes up for that with his intense work ethic
and motor. His work ethic is rivaled by very few as he has improved his game immensely
throughout his college career. He had improvements across the board from his
sophomore to junior season. Sophomore year he shot 47.1 percent and 20.8 from
the three point line, 5.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.6 blocks, 1.4 steals and
10.8 points; Junior year he shot 59.9 percent and 44.1 from the three point
line, 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.8 blocks, 2.2 steals and 13.6 points per
game. There also are not many more athletic players in this draft class as
Oladipo is an explosive leaper and is tenacious on the defensive end of the
court. That helps him also in the rebounding department, as he is one of the
best rebounding guards in the nation. Oladipo is one of the surest looking
things in this draft and is the perfect player for teams looking to turn around
a losing culture.
|Joe Robbins/Getty Images|
|Howard Smith- USA Today Sports|
Otto Porter, Small Forward, Georgetown: Porter was one of three players to receive a 10 rating in the Secret Big Board held by ESPN. The worst anyone rated Porter was a six, saying his low point is Tayshaun Prince and a high point of Scottie Pippen. A low point of Prince is a career that many players would trade for as he has a one title under his belt. Porter brings an excellent offensive game, with a great midrange game, good shot off the dribble and improving three point shot. He is also a good passer and unselfish, a more than willing passer and will not be a liability on the defensive side of the ball. The only problem with Porter is that he sometimes becomes too passive and not aggressive enough on offense. Adding some strength and size to his 6’9” 198 pound frame would be beneficial and that should come as he gets older.
|USA Today Sports Images|
Allen Crabbe, Shooting Guard, California: Crabbe is not an expected lottery pick, as his range currently sits between 15 and 30 for being picked. His size should translate well to the next level as he stands at 6’6” tall. With that he has the ability to shoot over his defenders in the NBA, which is his greatest asset to an NBA team. Crabbe can shoot the lights out of the gym as he is an explosive scorer with infinite range on his jump shot. He has a solid mid-range game as well and rebounds well for a guard. The size definitely helps him as other shooters like Shane Larkin are questioned by other teams because of smaller stature. It also helps make him a scrappy defender and cover up the lack of explosiveness and athleticism in his game.
|Debby Wong- US Presswire|
Cody Zeller, Center/Power Forward, Indiana: Zeller was a driving force behind the resurgence of the Indiana program and will look to turn that into a high draft pick. Zeller will most likely not fall below the 11th pick to the 76ers but can go as high as the fourth pick to the Bobcats. Where ever he falls a team will be getting a talented big man. Zeller is a quick, long, mobile big man that has some skill around the basket and runs the floor extremely well for a big. He can also handle the ball extremely well for a big man and has an extremely high basketball IQ, something NBA people like a lot. It would benefit him to add some strength and become more physical in the paint, but in the right situation he will transition into a stretch-4 instead of having to bang around as a 5 like he did in college.
Ben McLemore, Shooting Guard, Kansas: Like Oladipo, McLemore is looked at as a sure pick in this draft. He didn’t receive as many high votes as Nerlens Noel, but also did not receive a vote for being a bust like Noel was. He has some off-court issues that include concerns over his agent and the people that he associates himself with. The issues could push him down the order a little bit but whoever ends up with him will be getting themselves the player that down the road could look like he should have been the top pick. The athletic ability and sweet shooting touch he possesses should keep the slide minimal. He jumps out the gym, which helps in the rebounding department, and has range for days on his jump shot. He relies too much on his other teammates to set up for him and needs to develop a killer instinct as he sometimes goes invisible in games as well. His quiet and nonchalant demeanor may turn some teams off but he has as much talent as anyone in this year’s draft class.
Two more names to keep an eye on are Anthony Bennett, Forward from UNLV and C.J. McCollum, Guard from Lehigh. Both are looked as tweeners in the NBA as neither have a position but some people look at that as versatility. Both should have successful NBA careers and are looked at as safe picks in this draft, something you cannot say for a lot of the players being discussed as lottery picks.