Last month, Saving The Skyhook put together a roundtable on the rookies we are most looking forward to seeing play. Now, we will state our prediction for 2013 – ’14 Rookie of the Year and explain our reasoning. Let us know what you think!
I want to go with Victor Oladipo - I really do, but I can’t. My gut is telling me that the 2013 – ’14 Rookie of the Year will be Ben McLemore. Through six games in the preseason, the 20-year-old is averaging 12 points and 3.5 rebounds. He is shooting 48.2 percent from the field, a more than 15 percent increase from summer league ball. He is also playing himself into an opportunity to start for the Sacramento Kings, a destination where he will be given the freedom on the court that every rookie desires. Not to mention he is playing alongside Greivis Vasquez, who dished out 9 assists per game last season and will certainly create many scoring opportunities for McLemore.
I understand if you go the Oladipo-route, but my money is on “Air McLemore”.
Victor Oladipo. And it isn’t even going to be close. The 2nd overall pick in this summer’s draft, he had a great summer league and has impressed even more this preseason. Even other team’s coaches are taking notice, with Dallas Mavericks boss Rick Carlisle saying, “He’s making 3s. He’s driving it. He’s handled the ball some. I don’t know if people were expecting that, but he’s going to be very, very good.” Combine that with the fact that Oladipo is going to get a lot of minutes and shots in Orlando, and you have a formula for a Rookie of the Year.
Can I call a tie? I’m going with Victor Oladipo and Ben McLemore to split the award. For Oladipo, he’ll have the ball in his hands as Orlando’s point guard, and will receive attention for his ability to score, as well as defend multiple positions. If Orlando surprises people this season, it will have some part to do with Oladipo’s arrival, and that could get him the award. However, McLemore intrigues me because he’s an incredible talent. His summer league performance was tough to watch, but imagine his surprise when he sees Greivis Vasquez getting him the ball in his sweet spots. Taking some of the pressure off his scoring should allow the other parts of his game to blossom, and if he puts up a respectable statline, I think he can come away with it as well.
I’m torn, so I’ll call the tie.
I can’t say that I’m totally confident with this pick since there isn’t really a rookie out there who jumps off the page, so I’ll play it safe and go with the player I thought was the best prospect coming out of college: Victor Oladipo. This is more a selection based on overall quality of play rather than numbers. There might be players out there who are statistically more impressive, but Oladipo should be ready to handle the rigors of an NBA schedule. He’s a great athlete and smart player with a little Dwyane Wade-potential inside of him, and he should see extended minutes with the rest of Orlando’s young nucleus. If I felt like being a little more risky I could’ve gone with Kelly Olynyk (based on the .01% chance that he’s the next Larry Bird), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (if the Pistons need a spark of offense on the perimeter outside of Brandon Jennings) or Dennis Schroeder (at 30/1 odds, let’s take a shot).
My prediction for ROY is Victor Oladipo. Oladipo landed in the perfect opportunity to shine with a young Orlando Magic team that will feature him as a sixth man early before finding a place in their starting backcourt before the end of the season, by either benching or trading Jameer Nelson or Arron Afflalo because Oladipo is just too good to keep off the floor. The 6’4″ combo guard has all the tools a franchise looks for in a future star; athleticism, defensive tenacity and more offensive game than he got credit for at Indiana.
Oladipo seems to have done a lot of work on improving his jumper, and it’s paid off in summer league play and the preseason. Plus he plays with a fearless swagger that suggests that he wants to be the best player on the court, every night.