Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
Victor Oladipo is like the Rudy of NBA players. If Rudy was a 6-4, 215 pound black guy with freak athleticism. OK, maybe he’s not Rudy, but in today’s “follow a kid from 8th grade on” basketball world, Oladipo was an unknown diamond in the rough. He wasn’t a top prospect coming out of high school, but in his three years at Indian he turned himself into a college stud worthy of a lottery pick. With range on his jumper, speed and quickness, people compare him to the Heat’s Dwyane Wade. Scary part is, he might actually be a better passer.
Michael Carter Williams, Philadelphia 76ers
With the Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and now the talented 6-6 point guard, MCW, we haven’t seen a light-skinned invasion like this since Al B. Sure. Carter-Williams has been the unsuspected talk of the town after he became the first rookie to win his conference Player of the Week award since Shaq did it in Orlando back in 1992. MCW has the style of play that’s built for the pros. He can score, has great court vision and with his size, he can see over most defenders. Philly is off to a decent start, but no one knows just how long that will last. The longer Carter-Dubb does well, the longer the Sixers stay relevant.
Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings
Be prepared to see a ton of tweets with the hashtag #FreeBenMcLemore this season. The last Kansas Jayhawk star B.W. (Before Wiggins) is every bit the prototype of an NBA shooting guard. However, despite being 6-5 scoring machine, as a rookie he might ride the bench for a while. Either way, the St. Louis native plays with a chip on his shoulder and a knack for getting buckets that will surely excite not only Kings fans, but the whole league.
Kelly Olynyk, Boston Celtics
So the title contending Boston Celtics we knew are over. Half the team relocated to Brooklyn and the coach of kumbaya, Doc Rivers, brought ubuntu to Lob City and the Clippers. Not to mention Rajon Rondo is out indefinitely. So what does a Boston Celtic fan have to look forward too? Kelly Olynyk. No, that’s not a joke and when you watch the 7-foot Toronto native hoop, you’ll realize he’s no joke either. Olynyk is versatile, can shoot from the perimeter and doesn’t hesitate to crash the boards. Believe it or not, he’s a great piece as building black for Boston’s future.
Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers
The fifth No.1 pick in Cavalier history is in a unique spot. He has the pressures of being the number one pick in any professional draft (being the most productive rookie, making the team better, etc.), yet he doesn’t have to be the best player on the team like so many others who’ve shaken commissioner Stern’s hand before any of his draft-mates. Kyrie Irving is the unquestioned leader of the team, Andrew Bynum has championship experience, Dion Waiters is becoming the scorer we thought he would and fellow Canuck Tristan Thompson has turned into a solid power forward. So where does that leave AB? With tons of room to grow. He’s been unfairly hit hard by the media after struggling for a week, but while other rookies got to experience summer league, Bennett was nursing an injury and is now getting a crash course in NBA play to catch up. Once he does, expect the boy with big man body to show up for the Cavs. They’ll be better for it.