Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY
The 2013 Draft Class was heralded (that word seems too positive) as a weak draft long before the draft took place. The teams at the top of the Lottery knew they would get a decent player, but not a franchise changer. It would be no surprise if those teams ended up back in the Lottery the next year.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com told Jodie Valade of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that this might go down as one of the worst Draft classes in league history. That is headlined even more by Anthony Bennett, the top overall pick — something I wrote about more over at Crossover Chronicles.
Here is what Stein had to say to Valade:
Really, only Victor Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams are proving to be valuable starters at the moment. A few others like Trey Burke, Mason Plumlee, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Steven Adams have been solid. Giannis Antetokounmpo looks like he might be a big star down the road. But all of those players except Oladipo weren't even in the conversation for the No. 1 pick.
Oladipo has been one of the few bright spots. His stellar double overtime performance against Michael Carter-Williams in Philadelphia likely will be the highlight of the season for the 2013 Draft class.
But not even Oladipo has been immune to the normal rookie struggles.
After a solid start to the season, Oladipo's play has tailed off some in recent weeks. Overall, he is averaging 12.9 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game and 3.3 assists per game in 30.7 minutes per game. Among rookies, those 30.7 minutes per game rank second behind only Michael Carter-Williams. Oladipo is shooting 39.8 percent from the floor and posting a robust 24.4 percent usage rate.
The Magic, in other words, are letting Oladipo play and play a lot and allowing him to make his mistakes.
Lately he has struggled. In his last five games, Oladipo is shooting 28.3 percent from the floor and averaging only 8.2 points per game to go with 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. He did not get into the game for the second half Wednesday against the Knicks.
Orlando will continue to throw him into the fire and let him play his way through his mistakes. These struggles may continue for a while as he figures things out.
Clearly though, Oladipo remains ahead of the curve of his fellow Draft class mates. And there is still a long career to learn and grow.