Editor’s note: This is a guess post from Ricky Sanders of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. You can follow him on twitter at @NBAFantasyInfo, and for more information on the NBA visit Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues – your online source for anything about fantasy basketball.
Dwyane Wade is an NBA superstar. There is no doubt about it. Anyone whose NBA career comes anywhere near resembling his is doing something right. I never like calling someone “the next” anybody because of the unique qualities of each individual human being. However, there is a young, developing player who resembles Dwyane more than you might think.
Let’s start at the beginning of the Dwyane Wade story. Wade was born on the south side of Chicago. Obviously, he played for his high school basketball team. Up until his sophomore year, he did not play much on his team. Actually, his stepbrother Demetrius McDaniel was the star of his high school team. Regardless, Wade grew four inches in the summer before his junior season and then blossomed. After a monster senior season that included 27.0 PPG and 11.0 REB, Wade seemed like a talent destined to be recruited by just about everyone. However, he was only recruited by three college basketball teams due to academic problems. Of his three options, Wade chose to play for Coach Tom Crean.
This is where the stories of these two players start to seem eerily similar. While player #2 did not grow up in Chicago, he too had a monster senior season (although his numbers were slightly different: 11.9 PPG, 10.3 REB and 3.6 BLK). Rivals.com ranked this guy number 144 overall and ESPN put him 53rd at the shooting guard position. Just like Wade, his descendant chose Tom Crean to coach his college experience. Player B is, of course, Victor Oladipo.
To make a long story short, both players led their teams to top 6 finishes in the AP poll at the end of the year in their final seasons at school. Wade’s last year was his junior season in which Marquette made the final four. Oladipo’s 1-seeded Hoosiers lost in the Sweet 16 to Syracuse. Both of them showed an uncanny ability to fill up stat sheets. Here are their final season college numbers compared to one another’s:
Wade’s Junior Season: 21.5 PPG, 50.1% FG, 6.3 REB, 4.4 AST, 2.2 STL and 1.3 BLK
Oladipo’s Sophomore Season: 13.6 PPG, 59.9% FG, 6.3 REB, 2.1 AST, 2.2 STL and 0.8 BLK
We are talking about two shooting guards here. Shooting guards are supposed to shoot a low percentage, aren’t they? These two just happened to be two guards who could handle the ball and specialized in going to the basket. As you can tell by their FG%, many of their shots were easy lay ups and dunks. Their superior ball handling abilities had a lot to do with that; both of them. The duo also both possessed superior athletic ability which helped them finish at the rim. Combine all of those attributes and sprinkle in the fact they both had sneaky good hands on defense. Also, rarely do guards come along that block around a shot per game. It just doesn’t happen. Under Tom Crean’s tutelage, all this happened twice in ten seasons. Finding two similar talents like these in a ten year span would be a long shot as-is but two under the same coach? Seems like destiny, which is partially why I believe Victor Oladipo truly could be the NBA’s next Dwyane Wade.
Enough with the back story. Both players were drafted in the first round of their respective drafts but Wade was part of maybe the best draft ever. Wade fell to fifth overall in the 2003 Draft to the Heat which may be one the greatest steals in the NBA draft. We know that now. Do you remember his rookie season, however? Like most players quickly realize, adjusting to the NBA is no walk in the park. Even for future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade, his rookie season was not so kind. Here were his numbers in the 2003 season and we’ll compare them to his career numbers:
Wade 2003: 16.2 PPG, 46.5% FG, 0.3 3PM, 4.0 REB, 4.5 AST, 1.4 STL and 0.6 BLK
Wade Career: 24.5 PPG, 49.0% FG, 0.5 3PM, 5.0 REB, 6.0 AST, 1.8 STL and 1.0 BLK
As you can see, he didn’t just splash into the league as a superstar immediately. It took him one full season before he turned into the 24+ PPG superstar we know and love today. Unsurprisingly to me after watching Oladipo’s college career, his rookie season has produced similar numbers:
Oladipo 2013: 13.8 PPG, 41.0% FG, 0.9 3PM, 4.4 REB, 4.0 AST, 1.6 STL and 0.6 BLK
Finally though, there is one major difference. Orlando is partially forcing Oladipo to learn a new position at the NBA level. Miami allowed Wade to play within his comfort zone at shooting guard exclusively from the start. The Magic seem to think Victor may be their point guard of the future. When Jameer Nelson doesn’t play (which is often), Oladipo draws extensive minutes at point guard (if not the start). Even when Nelson does play, he spends quite a bit of time handling the ball. Both players had excellent point guards in college (Travis Diener for Wade who played in the pros and Jordan Hulls for Oladipo). I would imagine Wade would have had bumps of his own if he were asked to do the same. Regardless though, the numbers continue to be bizarrely similar. I think Oladipo possesses similar upside to that of Wade also. While he may never put up exactly the same scoring numbers, he essentially “is” the next Dwyane Wade. Within a year or two, I would not be surprised to see Oladipo produce top 20 type fantasy value because of the all around game. If his career path progresses anywhere near that of Wade, he should be around 20 PPG with 5ish REB, 6ish AST and near league lead in STL. He also will potentially lead guards in blocks year in and year out because of the athleticism. All these things you have heard before. They were said about a young Dwyane Wade. The two of these guys are the closest thing to clones that the NBA has to offer (aside from the Lopez and Morris twins, don’t take it so literally).
So could Oladipo be the next Wade? The numbers prove it. Orlando is 100% committed to developing Oladipo as their superstar of the future. Why wouldn’t they be, they just drafted him #2 overall? As the early favorite for the rookie of the year, it looks like they may have hit the jackpot. Is Oladipo a Hall of Famer like Wade? That remains to be seen. For my money, I would bet on Oladipo to be the biggest star out of this rookie class, especially for fantasy purposes. Everyone loves the LeBron/Wade types that do everything. Just like the Magic, if you are building a dynasty team, you want to start with Mr. Oladipo. He is the next best thing in the NBA. Mark. My. Words.
What do you think? Is Victor Oladipo the ext Dwyane Wade? Let us know in the comments section below.