ESPN NBA Draft insider Chad Ford said Indiana’s Victor Oladipo is his favorite player in the 2013 class.
As a junior last season, Oladipo averaged 13.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game while shooting a blistering .599 from the field.
“I think he has the ‘it’ factor,” Ford told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Monday. “I think he might be a little bit limited in what he could do offensively, but he’s going to be a beast defensively.
“He’s going to be a high-character player who cares about winning and team over personal stats, and I think he’ll be the hardest worker of anybody in this draft.”
Those are all qualities the Phoenix Suns — or any team, really — would love to have, which begs the question: what are the odds that Oladipo, who has been linked to the the black and orange before, is around for them at number five?
“I think it’s solid,” Ford said of the chances of the junior lasting to the Suns’ selection. “Really, the one team ahead of Phoenix that is seriously considering him is Orlando.”
The Magic currently hold the second pick in the draft and could render any infatuation the Suns may have with Oladipo moot, but Ford believes if Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel is not Cleveland’s pick at number one, he will be Orlando’s at two.
“That is as close to a lock as there is in the draft,” Ford said. “If Noel’s not on the board, they’re trying to decide, really, I think between the same two guys that the Suns are trying to decide between, (Ben) McLemore and Oladipo.
“I think they’re leaning Oladipo because of character issues, but they could come back and decide McLemore’s talent, they can’t pass on, and if that’s the case then I would think Oladipo would be there at five.”