There are just a couple days until the 2013 NBA draft (Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN), and the focus on which first-round prospects will have an instant impact on their teams in their rookie season is the talk of the basketball world.
All of the following players were great in college, but with the raw talent and mental prowess to translate it to the next level, each will become a star in the NBA as a rookie.
Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
There are several marquee shooting guards in the 2013 draft class, but none possess the athletic ability and basketball IQ of Indiana star Victor Oladipo.
As the projected No. 2 overall pick, per ESPN’s Chad Ford, Oladipo is an absolute stud on the basketball court and will make an instant impact in the league from the first day he joins his teammates during training camp.
While the major knock on Oladipo is that he is a tad undersized to be a dominant shooting guard, his athleticism is second to none. He is an incredible leaper, and with as much tenacity as any player in the draft, the excellent defender will make his impact felt in every facet of his team’s games.
Oladipo will be a force at both ends of the floor in the NBA.
Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
There are plenty of blue-collar players in this draft, but none embody the hard work it takes to be a star at the next level better than versatile Georgetown forward Otto Porter.
Ford has Porter going to the Washington Wizards at No. 3 overall in his player evaluation, but no matter where he actually lands on draft day, the team that makes this selection will be getting an absolute stud who will walk onto the court and make an immediate impact.
Not only is Porter sound in his own end as one of the best defenders in the draft class, but the Georgetown star is also one of the most dynamic scoring wings. With the ability to shoot the lights out and the basketball IQ to make smart, accurate passes, Porter is as talented offensively as he is defensively.
The team that lands the forward will have a bona fide star on its hands.
C.J. McCollum, PG, Lehigh
Of all the prospects who have a chance to blossom into NBA stars in their first season in the league, Lehigh point guard C.J. McCollum has just as good a chance as any of them.
While Ford has McCollum falling all the way to the Portland Trail Blazers at No. 10 (subscription required), there is no doubt that the senior guard will step right in for whichever team drafts him and use his maturity and composure to allow his unbridled talents to shine through.
The players from smaller schools don’t always play the best competition—a factor that makes it hard to judge their talent and how it would transfer to the NBA—but the fact that McCollum spent four years in college and took the time to learn the game makes the transition easier.
Add in his ability to play both guard positions, and the Trail Blazers have found the long-term compliment to Damian Lillard in the backcourt.