Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana (JR) [5/4/1992] - 6'4", 215lbs.
If every player’s goal were to gradually improve each year while in college and use their time as effectively as possible, then Victor Oladipo would be the poster child for that. Oladipo was a 3-star recruit out of high school who was overlooked by a lot of schools but ultimately chose to go to Indiana, where he has slowly developed into a top-tier player. This past year he used as a coming out party and was arguably just as important, if not more so, then teammate Cody Zeller.
With Oladipo, the first thing that stands out is his physical profile. He’s a well-put together, wiry strong, long, quick, super athletic shooting guard who will have several ‘wow’ plays thanks to his athletic ability. He might be in the upper echelon of athletes once he enters the league with his explosive leaping ability and quick second jump. His physical profile allows for him to do a lot of different things on the court and combines with his attitude to form a tough defensive player.
Oladipo started out at Indiana as a defensive stopper and continued out to become one of the best defenders in the NCAA. Going along with his physical profile, his quick hands, excellent lateral ability and tenacious defensive ability forms what could be a 1st team All-NBA player down the road. There aren’t many players that are able to cover every perimeter position in the NBA and do it well, which Oladipo projects to do. He is pest both on and off the ball, where is equally disruptive in both. On the ball, he is tough because his combination of length, strength and lateral agility make it hard for offensive players to go around or through him. Off the ball, his length and quickness make for his well-documented amount of deflections, blocks and steals.
What changed Oladipo’s stock from a 1st round pick to a potential top-5 or even top-3 pick, was his development offensively. Not known as a ball-handler or for even being much of a shooter, Oladipo worked on his game immensely in his time at Indiana to where he can now be considered a legitimate threat on offense. He’s still improving and there’s still a ways to go before he can be considering a top-tier offensive option but his offensive game is now more diverse then it was before.
The thing that stands out about his offense is how efficient he has become. Realizing his strengths and weaknesses as a player, his shot selection is very good. He doesn’t force much offensively and plays the role that is asked of him. This year at Indiana, he took a larger role in the offense yet managed to shoot higher percentages then he had in previous years. His jump shot has significantly improved to where he’s a knock down shooter with his feet set. He still needs work with his off the dribble shot but it’s come a long way.
He also needs to continue to develop his ball-handling skills. He’s able to complete straight line drives and one, two or three dribble drives at this point but anything more than that and his efficiency goes down. He has the strength and first step to be effective but his ball handling is keeping him from being a great creator.
When Oladipo is able to get out in transition is when he’s at his best. As already mentioned, his athletic skills shine here when he’s able to get into the open court. He finishes at the rim with authority and can get up-and-down the court with ease.
Part of the package that intrigues scouts with Oladipo is his intangibles: his relentless work ethic, his passion for the game and his high basketball IQ. His former coaches rave about his smarts, on and off the court, as well as his competitive drive to improve. The question for players with high ceilings, like Oladipo, is if they have the character and work ethic to reach their ceilings. In Oladipo’s case, he does posses the necessary tools to reach his high ceiling.
Oladipo is intriguing mixture of athletic talent and defensive ability that form with his offensive development to make for a good starter in this league. Oladipo is still raw and developing in some parts of his game. Whether he is able to be more of an offensive threat and develop more on that end, will determine how good of a player he ultimately can be.