For many, Orlando Magic rookie Victor Oladipo has been the standout rookie of the season so far this year. The reasons for this are simple, like many great players before him, his maiden campaign is following a trail we have seen before. This is not to say Oladipo is guaranteed to one day become an All-Star, we have not seen enough of him yet to determine how he will pan out as a player. To date though, he has done what many rookie players who went on to have successful careers have done, had some standout games, as well as some forgetful ones. For every 18-point outing (on 7-of-11 shooting) against the Atlanta Hawks, there have been contests the former Indiana player will want to forget in a hurry. (Seventeen turnovers in two games last month.) Most Magic fans are grateful to have him, the second pick used to obtain the 21-year-old in this summer’s NBA draft looking a smart one. There is however one other rookie turning heads with his impressive displays and he can also be found at a struggling team in the East.
Michael Carter-Williams has burst onto the scene with the kind of performances that heralded No. 1 picks usually give during their first season in the NBA. The difference is however, that Carter-Williams didn’t have all that much fanfare coming into the league, which makes his start to life in the pros all the more impressive. Obviously being picked 11th in the draft shows the kid has a lot of potential. But the fact still remains that 10 teams passed on his services when presented with the opportunity, although great players slipping on draft night is not a new phenomenon. A major factor in the Philadelphia 76ers’ 3-0 start, including playing an integral part in defeating the Miami Heat, the future looks very bright for the Syracuse product. Although the team is now 6-11, Carter-Williams continues his fine form, recently scoring 29 points and nicking seven steals in a defeat to the Indiana Pacers. We know he can play at a high level, but for how long? The question now becomes, when Carter-Williams cools off, and at some point in time he will, just how will he respond to playing poorly? It is in that moment that his true value will be determined. To his credit though, he does seem to have the right attitude already, he is saying all of the right things when a microphone is put in front of his face.
It now becomes interesting to ask Orlando Magic fans out there, and indeed all NBA fans who have an opinion on the matter, which player they would rather have on their team. It is ridiculously early in their respective careers, but making a call on who you would rather have on their roster right now when both are still rookies is half the fun. As stated, Oladipo is doing something we have seen young players like John Wall and Kyrie Irving do before, even Paul George. He is learning how to play in the NBA before our eyes. Some nights he plays like the athletic machine he was in college. On others he is a non-factor as the game passes him by. Carter-Williams on the other hand is yet to really hit a true slump, the only thing holding him back so far being small injuries that have kept him out of games entirely. It would make sense to take him over Oladipo at this moment in time, but how many people out there believe that five years down the line, the Magic will be wishing they had taken Carter-Williams instead?
Given that both organisations are going through tough times on the court, with little chance of it improving any time soon, it is interesting to look outside the box a little bit to break up the monotony of losing games. Philadelphia fans will tell you Carter-Williams will be the one you should clamor to sign up, Magic fans believing it is the slow and steady progress of Oladipo that will yield the greater benefit in the long run. Or would they? What we do know is that having either of them on your team would be a positive right now, as the race to be crowned the rookie of the year has turned into a two horse race early on in the season. so, who would you pick if given the chance? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.