Victor Oladipo, 6-foot-4 shooting guard, Indiana: One of the darlings of the college season, Oladipo had a remarkable rise and used his energetic, acrobatic play to help a storied program complete a turnaround after significant struggles. A defensive dynamo and elite athlete, he's been praised for putting in a tremendous amount of work to round out his game and become a much more significant offensive contributor. Also known for his charismatic personality and desire to win, whether or not Oladipo's progress as a scorer continues in the NBA is the difference between him being a solid role player to a truly possessing star potential.
[NBA Draft Capsule: Michigan PG Trey Burke]
Career highlights: Despite playing for elite AAU and high school programs, Oladipo was a lightly regarded prep prospect who was strictly an interior player offensively as a prep player, and while his freshman campaign did include five consecutive double-figure scoring games, he was viewed as a role player during Indiana's disappointing season. As a sophomore, he helped spark the Hoosiers' renaissance, emerging as a double-figure scorer, defensive stopper and high-flying energy player, while becoming a more versatile offensive performer, an honorable mention all-Big Ten selection and a member of the conference's all-defensive team, with outings like a 16-point game in a win over Notre Dame, a career-high 23 against Purdue and 15 in a season-ending loss to Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament hinting at his potential. Oladipo's junior season saw his unexpected development into one of the nation's top college players, stealing teammate Cody Zeller's preseason buzz by becoming a markedly better shooter and polished scorer, resulting in him being named the league's top defensive player and a first-team All-American, by virtue of his overall impact on the game more than his stats, highlighted by a game-winning shot to oust Temple in the NCAA tournament before bowing out to eventual finalist Syracuse.
[NBA Draft Capsule: Maryland C Alex Len]
Strengths: The explosive wing probably won't ever be a big-time scorer on the next level, but with his indefatigable work ethic, incredible motor and ever-improving offensive skill set, his efficient, low-usage approach should translate to the next level. Capable of defending all three perimeter spots, with his powerful frame, length, quickness and determination, Oladipo's defense, is also likely to be one of the hallmarks of his game in the professional ranks and despite not having ideal size for a shooting guard, he's an excellent rebounder for his position and simply makes plays on both ends of the floor because of his high activity level. His outstanding shooting numbers belie the fact that he's not a natural outside marksman, but his work to become competent illustrates the fact that he's capable and similarly, while he's not a flawless ballhandler, his unselfishness and team-first instincts make him an underrated playmaker, as well as a leader.
[NBA Draft Capsule: Lehigh PG C.J. McCollum]
Weaknesses: Oladipo's size and still-raw offensive game are obvious question marks, as it remains a concern that he could end up being a one-dimensional defensive specialist, which is needed in the league, but perhaps doesn't match up with projections of the player. As much progress as he made in his college career, pinning hopes on him making the same type of developmental leap could be unrealistic, though with his noted determination, not impossible. Certainly, Oladipo's inspirational leadership capabilities, willingness to sacrifice by doing the dirty work and high character will be coveted, but his current limitations as a natural shooter and in his ability to create with the ball in his hands can't be overlooked.
[NBA Draft Capsule: Indiana PF Cody Zeller]
Draft projection: A fringe first-round prospect, if that, entering last season, Oladipo is now considered a consensus lottery pick and should be off the board by the sixth pick, according to most observers. Due to all of his aforementioned positive qualities, he'll fit with any team but would be most effective on a squad looking to play at a fast pace, influence its locker-room culture and become more defensive-minded, as well as alongside a scoring point guard who can also create for others. At worst, Oladipo will be a long-term rotation player and high-level defender, but depending on what a coach values, he has a chance to be an immediate starter, high-level role player and with continued development, a solid, if not spectacular scoring option via transition opportunities, straight-line drives, offensive rebounds, open long-range looks and pull-up mid-range jumpers.