The same 215-person panel which predicted the Orlando Magic would finish the 2013/14 season with a 24-58 record said Wednesday that Magic guard Victor Oladipo would win the award handily. Oladipo finished with 284 points, or more than the combined totals of second-place finisher Trey Burke, third-place's Ben McLemore, or fourth-place finisher Cody Zeller (257). Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum finished fifth.
ESPN Insider Chad Ford, who serves on the aforementioned panel, explained why he picked Oladipo to win the award:
Oladipo is the perfect storm of a ROY candidate. He can physically play in the NBA from day one -- few athletes have had his combination of strength and athletic ability coming out of college. He also has two skills that should earn him major minutes right away: (1) He plays as hard as anyone in the NBA, and (2) he can immediately be a lockdown defender.
Ford later notes, however, that Oladipo's lack of scoring punch could work against him in the Rookie of the Year chase, as voters for that award tend to focus on offense.
The Magic made Oladipo the second overall pick in June's NBA Draft. One week later, one Las Vegas sportsbook listed him as having 11-to-2 odds to win Rookie of the Year, trailing only Burke at 4-to-1.
Oladipo averaged 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and three combined steals/blocks in his final season as a Hoosier, earning co-Defensive Player of the Year and Consensus All-American First Team honors.
Oladipo could become the first Magic player to pick up the league's top rookie honor since Mike Miller in 2001. The other Magic player to win the award is Shaquille O'Neal, who did so in 1993.