If the NBA allowed its teams a mulligan on the 2013 NBA Draft, how would it shake out? Orlando Pinstriped Post tackled that question in a recent Mailbag story, and now Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated has offered his take on that hypothetical.
In Mahoney's re-do of the first 14 selections, he has the Orlando Magic selecting Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams instead of Indiana guard Victor Oladipo with the second overall pick. "Carter-Williams checks many of the same boxes as actual No. 2 pick Oladipo, though at 6-6 the current Sixer (No. 11 pick) presents an unusual challenge for defenses," Mahoney says. "He hasn't figured out all the best ways to use that height to his advantage yet, but already Carter-Williams is slippery enough offensively and pesky enough defensively to project as a franchise cornerstone."
Carter-Williams is averaging 17.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 2.4 steals per game on 48 percent True Shooting in his rookie campaign. Oladipo, who doesn't quite have the same level of freedom in Orlando that his counterpart does with the Philadelphia 76ers, is averaging 13.9 points, 4.4 boards, 3.8 assists, and 1.6 steals on 50.8 percent True Shooting himself.
In Mahoney's Draft re-do, Oladipo slips to the Charlotte Bobcats with the fourth overall selection. His reasoning: "Playing alongside Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson would relieve some of Oladipo's ball-dominant tendencies, allowing the 21-year-old guard to pick his spots and channel his energies more productively."
We'll get a better idea of how the two rookies stack up when they face off again on February 26th. In their first head-to-head meeting at the NBA level, both players recorded triple-doubles as Carter-Williams' Sixers topped Oladipo's Magic, 126-125, in double-overtime.
There's a chance that the players will meet again before the Magic and Sixers do: the NBA named Carter-Williams and Oladipo to the Rising Stars Challenge roster for All-Star Weekend. There's no indication yet whether they'll be teammates or adversaries--the NBA will announce the teams for that game on February 6th--but the exhibition promises to be entertaining, as always.
Magic fans, who would you rather have on your team? Please vote in the poll embedded in this post.