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Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Victor Oladipo

Discuss Draft Dreams on Twitter using the #DraftDreams hashtag.


  • Measurables: 6-foot-4, 213 pounds, junior forward from the Indiana University.
  • Key Stats: 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.2 steals and 0.8 blocks per game; shot 60 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point territory.
  • Projected: Top-5 pick.
  • Hickory High similarity score

Random Fact

He’ll flat out admit it, as he did at the NBA Draft Combine this week, but Victor Oladipo is a weird dude. There’s nothing wrong with that — some guys just march to the beat of their own drum — but Oladipo is his own man. He’s a gym rat, a guy who’s improved his game infinitely since he arrived in Bloomington, Ind., three years ago.

But apparently he’s not all hoops. He’s actually got some pipes, which were on display at the Spirit of Indiana Showcase two years ago when he covered Usher’s hit, “U Got It Bad,” via BroBible:

It turns out he’s not just stealing the ball from opposing ball handlers, but also stealing the hearts of Indiana coeds since 2010.

Fits with the Pistons because …

Where to start? He’s a high-energy, high-effort guy who never seems to take a play off. Defensively, he would step in as the Pistons’ best perimeter defender since Tayshaun Prince in 2008, and that alone makes him worth a selection in the top-8 picks.

The thing about a weak draft like this is there are only two ways of drafting — you’re either gambling on a high-risk, high-reward guy or taking the safe bet. Sure, the ridicule of passing on a potential future superstar is difficult, but at the same time, you’re avoiding drafting the next Michael Olowokandi, too.

Comparing Oladipo to Dwyane Wade is extremely lazy, but there’s a short list of guys in this draft who aren’t going to get you fired. Oladpio is one of them. Oladipo’s on the shorter side (6-foot-4), but with a 6-foot-9 wingspan and elite athleticism, he’ll provide defense from day one. Plus, he’ll slide into a team’s offensive system relatively smoothly due to his versatility.

It’s become a common practice in today’s NBA, but more and more teams are relying heavily on guys who aren’t A+ offensive players, but make up the difference on defense. Whether it’s Danny Green in San Antonio, Tony Allen (a very good Oladipo comparison) in Memphis or Shane Battier in Miami, these guys don’t make or break you offensively, but they impact the game on defense.

If the Pistons need help in one area, it’s defense. Even if they have something of a logjam at shooting guard with Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey, the insertion of Oladipo into the lineup is going to improve the team’s perimeter defense — a glaring weakness last season with apathetic defenders like Jose Calderon and, and to varying degrees, Will Bynum and Stuckey playing big minutes.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

For all the good he brings on defense, he’s still a work in progress offensively. He’s athletic, and that’s something of a must for perimeter players in today’s NBA, but he doesn’t really handle the ball well and makes way too many turnovers.

The majority of his offense at Indiana came off of open shots created by Cody Zeller down low or the fact that the team spaced the floor with 3-point shooters at every position. For a Pistons’ team that struggles to space the floor for Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond due to some questionable perimeter shooting, Oladipo won’t help the spacing problems.

Tony Allen is the trendy comparison, and it’s one that I actually like because people sometimes forget how explosive Allen was prior to tearing his ACL early in his career. Allen’s not a great shooter, and although Oladipo has a set shot, he’s not a threat to create his own offense and there are questions as to how his shooting range will translate to the NBA 3-point line.

Oladipo fits the mold of the trendy 3-and-D wing player. As I mentioned above, those guys are extremely valuable, even if they’re limited offensively. He’s going to need to solidify his jump shot from the NBA 3-point line in order to truly fit into that mold because, as of right now, he’s just a good set-midrange shooter.

But really, if he does that and his ceiling becomes what he was in college this year — albeit less efficient than 60/44/75 — are you really mad about drafting him? He’s a safe pick, and if that’s what the Pistons are looking for he’s their guy, assuming he’s around wherever they’re picking after tonight’s lottery.

The biggest problem with Oladipo is going to be where he lands. There are some guys who have a role and will be good in that role no matter where they are. There are some guys like that who are thrown into roles too large for them due to poor talent around them and things go down hill from there. Oladipo is what he is. He’s not going to be a scorer for you. That’s why Michael Kidd-Gilchrist struggled in Charlotte. He was out of his element, and Oladipo faces similar challenges.

From the Experts

Chad Ford:

Oladipo is the best perimeter defender in the country and an elite athlete who plays at a relentless pace. He’s still a work in progress offensively, but he can guard three positions on the floor and is an elite finisher at the rim. His shooting has dramatically improved, as have his ballhandling skills, but they’ll need to continue to improve for Oladipo to be a scorer at the next level. Look for him to go somewhere between No. 3 and No. 8 in the draft.


With the ability to guard up to four positions at the college level, Oladipo projects to be able to defend all three perimeter positions at the NBA level, depending on matchups. He has the speed and quickness to cover point guards, and his athleticism, strength, and toughness should enable him to guard most small forwards as well. Coaches will likely value the flexibility Oladipo gives them on the defensive end, as they can cross-match and hide weaker defenders while putting Oladipo on the opposing team’s top perimeter threat, regardless of position.

On film


  • May 21, 20131:51 pm
    by Blocks by Dre (Burke for the win!!)


    Completely off topic, but we should send Knight to NY tonight instead of Drummond. It was Knights luck that got us Drummond

    • May 22, 20139:09 am
      by G


      What did Knight have to do with Drummond slipping to the 9th pick? He certainly didn’t help their lottery drawing.

  • Pingback

    May 21, 20131:56 pm
    by 2013 Draft thread - Page 29


    [...] [...]

  • May 21, 20131:59 pm
    by Tom Y.


    I think the Tony Allen comparison is selling ‘dipo a little short. Although they have very similar measurables and are both very good defenders, there’s a couple of bigs differences:

    First, Oladipo is way more athletic. I don’t know how Allen looked before his injury, but in the combine he jumped 31.5″ from a standstill and 36.5″ off a run. Oladipo had 33″ and a whopping 42″. That’s quite a difference and can allow him to be much more effective in the NBA. 

    Second, Oladipo is a way better scorer than Allen (who has hardly any offense). People keep talking about his 3pt. shot being suspect, but forget that he also scored very efficiently from 2pt. range. And unlike his 3pt. shooting, which was only good in his 3rd year, he was an above average 2pt. shooter almost every year (59% 1st year, 52% 2nd, 64% 3rd).

    So I don’t think the Allen comparison is very fair to Oladipo – maybe Allen is his floor and Wade his ceiling. I think he’ll be somewhere in between – great D, great hustle, and will mix in some efficient scoring – some set 3′s and some penetration. And like Dre, he’ll be great in transition (and the both of them, along with Monroe, could generate a lot of steals and therefore many fast breaks).


    • May 21, 20132:48 pm
      by NickB


      I think that the reason his 2 point shooting % is so nice is because he would run up and get a lot of easy put-backs and dunks, which inflated his stats. He won’t have as many opportunities with Moose and ‘Dre dominating the boards and the paint.

      • May 22, 20139:11 am
        by G


        Yes, but Tony Allen misses wide open layups. He’s TERRIBLE on offense, can’t underline that enough. Part of Memphis’ problem is whoever’s defending Allen can sag into the lane because he can’t hit a wide open 3. Oladipo can at least do that much.

    • May 21, 20134:48 pm
      by frankie d


      an even better comparison is alvin robertson.
      robertson wasn’t a good shooter, but he made himself into a decent stand still jump shooter.  unlike allen, teams could not simply cheat off of robertson because he shot well enough so that he could hurt you if you left him alone.
      he was a great defensive player and he won defensive player of the year once and led the league in steals several times.
      imho, robertson is the best comparison for oladipo, as i doubt that he’ll ever be as incompetent, offensively, as allen is.  if teams left him open, as they leave allen open, oladipo will hurt them.
      i like him and would be very happy to have him as a piston.
      in fact, i know i am in the distinct minority, but i think this is a fairly good draft.  the top end of it is not that great – no otherworldly talents waiting to be picked number one – but i think teams will be able to pick up solid rotation players into the middle of the second round.  there are guys who will be picked at 40-45 who will be as good as lots of guys picked in the middle of the first round.  i think the pistons, if they choose wisely, will pick up a solid player with their early second round choice.

  • May 21, 20132:13 pm
    by Vic


    All talent being equal, I think the 5 is the most important position to a team, because they defend and score in the paint. Even Spoelstra will tell you the most important player to his team is Bosh.

    Next is the 3, because they hold everything together. Common denominator with most of the teams that lasted in the playoffs this year are talented 3s
    Lebron, Carmelo, Deng/Butler, Kahwi, P George, Durant, Barnes, and even Tayshuan has worked out better than Gay as a glue guy for Memphis.

    Next is PG so you don’t turn the ball over.

    Talent being equal, sg is the least important position on the team. With all that being said- Victor Oladipo is an absolutely perfect SG. Defends viciously, scores efficiently. But in terms of winning a championship I think he’s a luxury. 

    Pistons already have the paint sowed up. Talent being equal, I take a 3 (Otto Porter) over a 1, and a 1 over a 2. You never want to pass up on a talented small forward with a 7’1 wingspan that can shoot, pass, and defend.


    • May 21, 20133:17 pm
      by jacob


      Lebron is the most important person in the NBA period.

    • May 22, 20139:13 am
      by G


      Gotta agree with jacob here, the most important position is the one your best player plays. How many all star centers did Jordan play with?

  • May 21, 20132:24 pm
    by Corey


    Oladipo is the guy I”m hoping the Pistons end up with. I view him as a “no risk – high reward” type player, in this sense:

    His floor is a great defender with moderate offensive ability through his athleticisim and an improving 3 pt shot.  There is “no risk” that he’s a bust as a player – or at least it’s as low as it can ever be.  And his ceiling on offense is high. It will take longer than his D, but if he either develop solid nba 3 pt range, or a good handle, he’ll be a strong offensive player. If he develops both, he’s almost unlimited.

    In this draft, I’d love to land that.

    As far as the importance of SF over the SG position – I don’t see it at all. I won’t cry if they take Porter, but Oladipo is just SUCH a Pistons-type player. I’d love to see him on the team.

  • May 21, 20132:33 pm


    He and Shabazz have the most star potential….

    I’m not in love with his offensive game, but it can get better. Knight and Victor could become one hell of a defensive back court

    • May 21, 20132:54 pm
      by tarsier


      How does Oladipo have more star potential than the rest of the top 6?

      Noel is a ferocious interior defender who can jump out of the building. McLemore is a deadeye shooter who could take over a game with his scoring while not being a total zero in every other facet of the game. Porter is a do-it-all forward whose ability at everything ranges from good to excellent. Burke could be a game changing PG. Bennett is about as talented and disciplined as Josh Smith, more O-heavy to Smoove’s D, and a long shot perhaps to ever consistently play smart and hard, but will be a force if he does.

      Oladipo is a really athletic, lock-down perimeter defender with an above average shot when wide open. That has excellent role player written all over it.

      • May 21, 20136:42 pm
        by oats


        He was the best perimeter defender and most efficient perimeter scorer. McLemore gets heralded as a potential star for his great offense, but he only scored an extra 2.3 points a game and shot lower percentages. I think the odds of him getting to be an All Star is lower than the odds of any player in the top 6 other than maybe Bennett, but like Bennett his ceiling is as high as anyone outside of maybe Noel.

  • May 21, 20132:45 pm
    by Jay


    Random question, but why does the Indiana-Miami series get such a huge break to start their series. By the time they play game 1, memphis-SA will have played 2 games. 

    • May 21, 20134:06 pm
      by jacob


      Heat Pacers should be playing tonight.

  • May 21, 20132:47 pm
    by tarsier


    Oladipo is currently sitting at 6th on my draft board. He’s a safe pick with next to no risk. but I just don’t see the high reward. I’d love to have him on the Pistons and would not be disappointed if he was their draft pick. But I would much rather go after someone who seems like he could be a big time player.

    I also dislike the Tony Allen comparison. Allen is an offensive liability. Oladipo seems like he will be closer to a Wes Matthews.

    My board currently reads:
    ???? please let this far down the list be irrelevant 

  • May 21, 20132:55 pm
    by danny


    dipo plays hard on every possession and pushes the pace when he gets a board.  The fact that he gets a lot of boards will help create fast breaks for our team.  Something i think we desperately need.  Him or burke please.

    • May 21, 20136:11 pm
      by NickB


      The thing is, with Moose and Dre set to start, we should need no help on the boards. I feel like some of the better parts of his game will not be awfully relevant on our team. Like his athleticism-he got plenty of putbacks and dunks in college this season, but how many of those will be available with Drummond dominating the interior?
      I’m not saying he’d be a bad pick, he just isn’t my very favorite. I’d prefer Porter or Burke easily. I don’t really expect to get any of them though.

      • May 22, 20139:25 am
        by G


        Do you know how many rebounds are available each game? Something like 100. Unless you expect Drummond and Monroe to get 40-50 rebs apiece, they could use some help on the boards.

  • May 21, 20133:06 pm
    by tom


    The idea that Oladipo can’t create his own shot seems to be as widespread as it is wrong. He wasn’t asked to do it as a regular part of Indiana’s offense – and that fact no doubt contributed to his ridiculously high FG% – but he certainly has the ability to do so. You see it in some of those highlights and you saw it more if you watched him play, he can regularly beat his man off the dribble. He is turnover prone and despite his 3pt% there are legitimate concerns about his outside shot, but the man can create his own shot.

    • May 21, 20136:25 pm
      by NickB


      The turnovers are a big part of that though. At this point he’s basically relying on sheer athletic ability to drive to the basket. He has a ton of development to do when it comes to creating his own shot. A lot of the time it seems that players don’t really develop a whole lot in the NBA, or if they do, it’s often at a snail’s pace. If he does manage to become a decent ball handler and iso guy, he could be a real star, but right now he’s a defensive specialist who is a decent shooter when he’s open.
      Let me be clear though, he has excellent potential and would be a nice pick at 7, he just has serious flaws like everyone else in this draft and we need to keep that in mind.

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