Victor Oladipo has generally found himself bounced around the top five of mock drafts and projected big boards. But in Chad Ford's anonymous survey of NBA general managers and scouts, the athletic Indiana wing is No. 1, besting every player due to his status as one of the least likely players in the draft to bust.
Ford's poll, which is behind ESPN's paywall, asked 50 front office members to rate players from 1-10. Although Oladipo didn't have any 10s, he bested Kentucky's Nerlens Noel, who was ranked as low as four by one unnamed official. Meanwhile, Oladipo didn't score lower than a seven in anybody's estimation.
It's not particularly surprising. Oladipo turned himself from a rangy defender without much of an offensive game into a polished yet explosive scorer over the course of his three years at Indiana, and seems to be a relatively safe pick. There's no obvious part of his game that needs work, and at 6'4 with length and athleticism, there's no question he'll be able to handle his NBA projection of shooting guard.
But teams don't necessarily draft based on least risk, and which is what Ford's 1-to-10 average rating system selects for. Noel is too skinny and raw offensively, but he boasts the raw talent and, yes, upside to potentially be a huge difference-maker. Even if Oladipo seems to have more traction among NBA decision-makers, he seems less likely to be the top pick than Noel.