The NBA All-Rookie honors that are handed out following the completion of a player's first season in the league are high honors indeed.
Over the years, names like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, David Robinson, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose have all received first-team NBA All-Rookie honors. The designation doesn't guarantee success, but it doesn't hurt it, either.
Damian Lillard headlined the 2012-13 All-Rookie first team, joining four other players who were drafted in the top seven of the 2012 NBA draft. Top pick Anthony Davis, No. 3 pick Bradley Beal, No. 4 pick Dion Waiters and No. 7 pick Harrison Barnes were the other breadwinners.
Following the events of the 2013 NBA draft on Thursday night, we have a new crop of rookie talent to project. With those projections ultimately comes looking ahead to rookie honors, and this year is no different.
Since no respect to positions is given in the NBA All-Rookie team voting, we're simply going to look at five guys who have the best shot to make the first team after the completion of their rookie year.
A lot can change in a calendar year, but the opportunities these five guys are going to get in their new city, combined with their obvious talent and drive, will make them hard to unseat on the top-rookie podium.
All-Rookie 1st Team
Orlando Magic SG Victor Oladipo (Top Vote-Getter)
"I'm going to bring a work ethic nobody's ever seen." --Victor Oladipo— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) June 27, 2013
That tweet from Joshua Robbins cements the idea that we won't have to worry about Victor Oladipo letting stardom go to his head as a rookie in the NBA.
Taken by the Orlando Magic with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft on Thursday night, Oladipo will jump into the starting lineup whether or not the Magic have found a way to ship Arron Afflalo out of town for a starting point guard (Eric Bledsoe) before the season begins.
A three-year player at Indiana, Oladipo was somewhat of a slow starter. He averaged just over 10 points and five rebounds in three seasons for the Hoosiers, but flashes of his greatness just started peaking during his last season for Tom Crean.
Oladipo averaged 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 2.1 assists per game at Indiana during his junior year, and he did so while shooting an unearthly 59.9 percent from the field and 44.1 percent from the three-point line.
As noted by ESPN's Stats & Info, he's going to bring a defensive presence that should alone give Orlando a chance at more than 20 wins next season:
Oladipo led Big Ten w/ 78 steals last season. Orlando Magic had 2nd-fewest steals in the NBA last season. #ORLpick— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 27, 2013
Simply put, and to steal a quote from the classic movie The Replacements, we're just starting to scratch the surface of Victor Oladipo.
He'll have opportunity to thrive as both an offensive playmaker and defender at the next level, and there might not have been a better place in this draft for Oladipo to go than to Orlando and the rebuilding Magic. The most NBA-ready player in the draft proves it with a first-team All-Rookie selection, and the most votes to boot.
Utah Jazz PG Trey Burke
Utah gave up two first-round draft picks to Minnesota to trade up for the rights to Trey Burke, telling you just how special they think this young man is.
Passing on C.J. McCollum and Michael Carter-Williams, Utah is now committed to a future that includes Burke as their starting point guard. If you watched the National Player of the Year at all last year, or even just in the NCAA tournament, you know he has the chops to succeed in the NBA.
Burke averaged over 18 points and six assists last year at Michigan, leading his team to the championship game of the NCAA tournament and hitting one of the biggest shots in recent memory to get them there.
Between Burke and Raul Neto (when the Jazz do decide to bring the second-round pick to the NBA is unclear), the Jazz have a future at point guard that is suddenly as bright as it has been since Deron Williams was traded away.
Burke will have chances to shine right away as a point guard in Utah, and I believe he'll have a stellar first year with a strong core and improving set of role players.
Phoenix Suns C Alex Len
The Suns got a potential No. 1 pick at No. 5 five on Thursday night, choosing to leave Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore on the board to make Alex Len the first center taken on the evening.
It's a move that could pay off for years to come.
Len has huge upside as a center in the NBA. His raw tools are strong, and he's still getting better on the low block in isolation situations. Despite playing only 26 minutes per game last year at Maryland, he still averaged 2.1 blocks per game.
Also showing the ability to step out and knock down a 15-foot jumper, Len should thrive in the new Phoenix offense under the direction of new head coach Jeff Hornacek, bringing enough on defense to justify a move to the starting lineup.
What about Marcin Gortat, you say? Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic broached that subject shortly after the pick was made:
Gortat will be a free agent next summer, and with a salary just under $8 million for next season, he'll be a hot name in midseason trade rumors for teams looking to upgrade the center spot.
Who starts on opening night?
Even if Phoenix chooses to start Len on the bench during his first season in the NBA, he'll most assuredly have 20 minutes per game to assert himself, and potentially more if and when the Suns do decide to trade Gortat next year.
Len has a chance to be the best overall center taken in this draft, and that idea should lend itself to us as he gets early minutes in Phoenix next season.
Sacramento Kings SG Ben McLemore
McLemore was an absolute gift to the Kings at No. 7.
His arrival in Sacramento was the perfect ending to the Sacramento-to-Seattle-and-back-again saga that went on for most of the season, proving to fans who stuck it out with the team during the rough patches that good things do come to those who wait.
McLemore has a high ceiling as a shooting guard in the NBA—maybe higher than Oladipo's. His pure shooting stroke and effortless ability to attack the basket have only been seen a handful of times because he only played one season at Kansas after redshirting the previous year.
He shot nearly 50 percent from the floor, managed 42 percent from the three-point line and averaged over 15 points a game in his lone season in college, numbers that are quite impressive for someone just getting a taste of the college game after not playing for a year.
In Sacramento, he'll be the new shooting guard for new head coach Mike Malone, a disciple of the Golden State Warriors franchise who is likely foaming at the mouth to get this young man back in the gym in Sac-town.
McLemore's arrival will allow the Kings to pursue a trade for Tyreke Evans if they deem it necessary and be very aggressive in other ventures now that the shooting guard spot is filled for years to come.
The player he's compared to, Ray Allen, was a second-team All-Rookie pick, but McLemore's situation and his unselfish nature combined with a sweet shooting stroke will allow him to be the Bradley Beal of this draft and make the first team next year.
Washington Wizards SF Otto Porter
There's nothing flashy about Porter's game, but luckily for Washington, there's so much flash at point and shooting guard that taking it down a notch will likely be a good thing.
Porter joins Beal and John Wall in Washington after being the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, and he's another instant starter in the city that drafted him on Thursday night.
Looking at the Wizards roster, three starting spots have now been filled in the last four drafts. The team has assets (Nene, Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Jan Vesely, Trevor Booker) to either dangle in a potential trade for something else or to dispatch in the rotation.
Moving back to Porter—this young man is as steady as they come. He can shoot it well from the outside. He can get his own shot in isolation sets due to his long arms and reach. Those long arms will also give him an advantage on defense, where he'll be squaring off against some of the league's best (LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George) four times a year.
Porter was a no-brainer pick for the Wizards, especially after Anthony Bennett came off the board to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The opportunity to be a steady contributor and keep his production consistent will be there in Washington, a team now just a handful of moves away from making things interesting in the East.
All-Rookie 2nd Team
Cleveland Cavaliers SF/PF Anthony Bennett
Philadelphia 76ers PG/SG Michael Carter-Williams
Portland Trail Blazers PG/SG C.J. McCollum
Detroit Pistons SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Memphis Grizzlies SG Jamaal Franklin (second-round pick)
All-Rookie Team Sleepers
Philadelphia 76ers C Nerlens Noel
Boston Celtics C/PF Kelly Olynyk
Dallas Mavericks PG Shane Larkin
Dallas Mavericks SG Ricky Ledo (second-round pick)
Portland Trail Blazers C Jeff Withey (second-round pick)
Detroit Pistons SF Tony Mitchell (second-round pick)
Charlotte Bobcats PF/C Cody Zeller
Atlanta Hawks C Mike Muscala (second-round pick)
Los Angeles Lakers PF Ryan Kelly (second-round pick)
Washington Wizards SG Glen Rice Jr. (second-round pick)
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.