As NBA prospects continue to enter the draft after just one season of college basketball, many teams find themselves drafting on potential alone, hoping their projections pan out in a few years. It's a risky game to play, but that's the art of today's NBA draft.
Here, however, I'm not interested in long-term projects; I'm more interested in those players that will step into the NBA and make an instant impact.
Which players might be the Anthony Davis or Damian Lillard of this year's draft class?
Let's find out.
Otto Porter, Jr., F, Georgetown
Can you find a major weakness in Porter's game? Go ahead, I'll wait.
Porter is such an intriguing NBA prospect because he does so many different things well. He can score from the perimeter, has an excellent mid-range game and can score down low. He's a solid defender that is versatile enough to defend several positions. He's unselfish—sometimes too unselfish—and will involve his teammates.
And he's a leader on the court, which is always a plus for teams at the top of the draft that generally have young, inexperienced rosters.
It would be a shock to me if he falls out of the top five, as he has the polished, well-rounded game to be next season's Rookie of the Year.
Trey Burke, G, Michigan
Burke, who basically won all of college basketball's awards this season—yes, all of them!—comes into the draft as, in my opinion, the top point guard prospect available. He was phenomenal for Michigan this year, averaging 18.6 points, 6.7 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
Burke has elite court vision and possesses the innate ability to know when his team needs him to take over. He has the quickness to get to the rim at will and the intelligence to kick the ball out to the wings when the open shot is there. His own perimeter game is also very strong, as he'll knock down a three if he's given space.
Burke may not have the same impact that Lillard had this year, but he should hit the ground running for the team that drafts him.
Victor Oladipo, G, Indiana
Oladipo is extremely athletic, has the best motor in the draft, is an intense competitor, a strong rebounder at the guard position, a true defensive stopper and has three years of experience at Indiana.
Yes, he's still improving as a shooter and will need to continue to grow as a scorer, but there is no reason he can't make an instant impact in the NBA. Even if he doesn't score right away, he'll play elite defense, add toughness to any starting five and keep his teammates involved.
Oladipo is the type of player that every contender needs. He does the little things, but he has the athleticism to become an elite player if he continues to improve offensively. Think Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but at shooting guard and more seasoned.
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