Cameron Rohde, Sports Radio KJR.
Not one person in the entire world will be able to accurately mock this draft. There is not a clear cut choice for the number one pick, and there is a plethora of trades on dock. As a result, I am going to give you my top three players. These are not guys that I predict will go in the top three, but instead these three players are the best players available in the draft.
1. Victor Oladipo, Indiana, 21, 6’4, 213. Best Case- Dwyane Wade, Worst Case- Tony Allen
Many view Oladipo has the safest pick in the draft, but with limited upside. He is most definitely the safest pick in the draft; with a worst case scenario of him turning into a Tony Allen (1st team all defense) type of player. However, his upside is a lot higher than people give him credit for. His work ethic is the best in the draft, players with strong work ethic tend to improve. That is certainly what Oladipo did; his offensive game became much stronger this past season at Indiana.
You know what you are going to get with Oladipo: a world class defensive player with the potential to become dangerous on the offensive end. Critics have you argued that he has already reached his max potential. This is certainly not the case though; there is always room for improvement in basketball. If Oladipo continues to improve his offense, he will have a chance to become one of the best shooting guards in the league.
Best Situation- A team where he isn’t asked to do too much on the offensive end and can solely focus on defense. The Cavaliers are the perfect team for him; he won’t be relied upon on offense. He would help cover Kyrie’s defensive shortcomings and allow Dion Waiters to slide into the 6th man role. (6th man with Syracuse).
2. Trey Burke, Michigan. 20, 6’1, 187. Best Case: Chris Paul, Worst Case- Jameer Nelson
Trey Burke was the best college player this past year, receiving countless accolades, 2013 NCAA first team all American, 2013 Big Ten POY, and Wooden Award Winner, Naismith College Player of the Year. He was the director of the best offense in the country, and led Michigan to the National Title game. Scouts and GM’s have quickly forgotten this, labeling him too small to play in the league. Chris Paul was labeled too small to succeed in the league, look at how that turned out. I do agree with scouts, right now Trey Burke is too small to play in the league. His height isn’t the problem; there have been many great 6’0 Point Guards in the league. Burke needs to get stronger and he knows this. Watch the tape of the title game; you will see him bounce off big guys like a pin ball. As long as Burke lifts in the NBA (doesn’t have a choice), he will become a solid point guard in the league for years to come.
Best Situation- A team with a solid front court that runs a lot of pick and rolls. New Orleans Pelicans would be a good fit, they could move Greivis Vasquez to shooting guard and trade Eric Gordon (doesn’t like playing in NOLA). This instantly would give them a dynamic back court that could feed Anthony Davis inside.
3. C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, 21, 6-3, 197. Best Case- Damian Lillard, Worst Case- CJ Watson
Every college basketball fan remembers the show that McCollum put on against Duke in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. McCollum embraced the big moment and helped Lehigh (15th seed) knock off Duke. At the time, I was surprised with what I was seeing. Just like everyone else, I figured Duke would cruise to an easy victory. If I would have done more research, it would’ve told me of how McCollum was an AP honorable mention as a freshman, first freshman to win conference player of the year, two time conference player of the year, and a star in the making. If it had not been for his broken foot this past season, he would have likely earned more accolades.
We only have to go down the I-5 to Portland for a good comparison to C.J. McCollum. Damian Lillard, last season rookie of the year, attended a small school (Weber State) just as McCollum did. Both guards broke the same foot metatarsal, and have a similar style of play. Lillard was a better passer than McCollum is in College, but McCollum is a better shooter. McCollum has the potential to be a dangerous scorer in the NBA, just as he was in the Patriot League and I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to win the rookie of the year like his mentor Lillard.
Best Situation- A team that needs scoring off the bench. The Portland Trailblazers had a terrible bench last year (last in league in bench points per game 18); McCollum could become their sixth man that they desperately need and could play crunch time minutes in the future next to Damian Lillard.
My Top 5, Oladipo, Burke, McCollum, McLemore, Porter.