In June, the Orlando Magic used the second overall pick of the Draft to select Victor Oladipo, widely considered to be one of the hardest-working and most-NBA-ready rookie prospects. As the offseason before Oladipo's first professional campaign wears on, he continues to gain notice as a potential Rookie-of-the-Year candidate and franchise building-block.
Orlando Pinstriped Post already highlighted the fact that Hickory High projected Oladipo to be the league's most productive rookie, in terms of Regularized Adjusted Plus-Minus, or RAPM, in 2013/14. But other accolades and praise have appeared since.
David Thorpe, an ESPN Insider analyst, pegs Oladipo as one of five possible Rookie of the Year winners. Playing point guard in the Orlando Pro Summer League, Thorpe says, "should challenge Oladipo to continue to work on his handle and to see and read the game better." He sums up by saying the Indiana product will "have a chance at being one of the league's top rookie producers."
Thorpe's other candidates for top rookie honors are Boston Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk, Charlotte Bobcats power forward Cody Zeller, Philadelphia 76ers point guard Michael Carter-Williams, and Sacramento Kings shooting guard Ben McLemore.
Elsewhere at ESPN, three of five panelists picked Oladipo as the favorite to win Rookie of the Year. James Herbert of Hardwood Paroxysm writes that Oladipo is "the only rookie who might make an impact on both ends immediately." Brett Koremenos of HoopSpeak goes even further, saying that Oladipo will be the best rookie from the 2013 class in five years due to his "athleticism, work ethic and skill set," which will enable him to develop into one of the league's best overall players over that span.
At SB Nation, Mike Prada ranks Oladipo as the fourth-best rookie from any of the NBA's Summer Leagues, behind only Zeller, Olynyk, and Atlanta Hawks point guard Dennis Schröder. "The only reason he's down at 4 is that he struggled with turnovers and simple things like entry passes to the elbows in HORNS sets," writes Prada. "That's to be expected, though, given the unfamiliarity with the [point guard] position."
Indeed, there's certainly reason for optimism in Orlando, despite the overwhelming likelihood that the Magic are headed to another losing season.