Who is Indiana's best player?


During college hoops season, Jay Bilas and Chad Ford will start the week by addressing a big question, evaluating NBA prospects on the rise and looking ahead to the next week.

The discussion: Who is Indiana's best player: Cody Zeller or Victor Oladipo?

Jay Bilas: To some, this may be a distinction without a difference and doesn't matter at all in a team game. And this is the perfect time to have this discussion, because we are coming off of a two-game stretch in which Zeller had his two worst games of the season while Oladipo has been at his best. In the past two months, I have been struck by how many basketball commentators seem to revel in saying that Oladipo is Indiana's best player. He is not.

I have heard several commentators, a couple of whom are respected voices who have been in the game for a long time, state that Oladipo is Indiana's best player "by far" and that "it's not even close." Reasonable minds can differ on such matters, but I do not agree. In fact, I disagree entirely.

Don't get me wrong. Oladipo, out of DeMatha (Md.), is a terrific player and is having a great season. He is among the best and most versatile defenders in the country who can guard multiple positions and get steals and deflections at a high rate. On the offensive end, Oladipo is much improved and has been hitting open shots, driving and getting to the foul line. He is a high-energy player who affects the game at both ends, and he has proved to be among the top 30 most effective players in the nation, in my judgment. I believe he is a first-round NBA draft pick.

However, he is not Indiana's best player. Cody Zeller is.