The staff of Writing Illini talks about which newly drafted Big Ten player could have the better career with their new NBA team. The Big Ten was a strong conference in the NCAA last season and any of these guys could make an impact for their teams right away.
Austin: Oladipo, who was drafted number two by the Orlando Magic, is my pick to have the best career. I have not strayed from my original idea that he was the best player from the Big Ten in the draft, and he got into a pretty good situation with Orlando, as they are not a team that is necessarily rebuilding, but they also are not a great team. They will be able to build around him, and in turn they will be able to showcase his talents in the paint and his ability to pull down boards. Is he a suitable replacement for Dwight Howard? Not yet. Could he be down the road? His potential is there, and if he continues to work as hard as he did in the Big Ten for Indiana, he should have no trouble becoming a potential All-Star in the NBA.
Ricky: Right now, I’d have to go with Tim Hardaway Jr.. He was drafted in the late first round by the New York Knicks and is a perfect fill in for former sixth man of the year J.R. Smith. I expect Hardway to come off the bench in New York and play when Melo is on the bench resting. He could become a starter in this league, but as a sixth man I could see him winning many awards. He just needs to keep his ego in check.
Ryan: Until someone else steps up and proves me wrong I am going to side with Victor Oladipo. His sheer willpower and drive to improve his game have been evident throughout his growth as a player in college, and in post draft interviews he still seems to be carrying a chip on his shoulder despite being drafted #2 overall. It is a chip predicated on proving naysayers, who said that he was taken too high at #2, wrong. Most kids taken at #2 might take a breath and soak it all in, but Oladipo seems to be cut from a different cloth and he intends on working even harder now to prove that he belongs.
His defensive ability will absolutely translate to the NBA, and will earn him early playing time. As his offensive game continues to improve there appears to be a very high floor to his game. Seeing the rise from virtual nobody as a freshman in college to what he has become today leads to little room for doubting his ability to succeed.
What do you think, Illini Nation? Which newly drafted or signed rookie will have a better career with their new NBA team?
The Writing Illini staff includes lead editor Ricky Widmer along with staff writers, Austin Jabs and Ryan Kraemer.
Follow Ricky on Twitter @RickyWidmer.
Follow Austin on Twitter @AustinJabs85.
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