Rookie race
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Nine of the top 11 picks in the 2013 NBA Draft have had little to no impact this season, but Nos. 2 and 11 have made up for it.

Orlando's Victor Oladipo and Philadelphia's Michael Carter-Williams became the first rookies in NBA history to post triple-doubles in the same game Tuesday in the 76ers' 126-125 double-overtime win, but their battle didn't end in the Wells Fargo Center.

The two players will be dueling all season long to decide who will be the NBA Rookie of the Year.

MCW has the early edge because he began the season as Philadelphia's starting point guard and played huge minutes from the get-go, but Oladipo has come on strong since he moved into Orlando's starting five eight games ago.

In that timeframe, the University of Indiana product has averaged 35.5 minutes, 16.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 0.8 threes while shooting 45 percent from the field and 84.8 percent from the foul line.

Carter-Williams has been one of the top overall fantasy players since he had 22 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds, nine steals and four threes in his debut. He has averaged 17.7 points, 7.3 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 3.1 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.5 threes.

From a fantasy standpoint, MCW is the better player to own because his starting job is secure while Oladipo appears to be on borrowed time while waiting for Tobias Harris (ankle) and Jameer Nelson (foot) to return from their injuries.

However, there are several scenarios in which Oladipo continues to play 30-35 minutes per game.

In the short term, Oladipo will stick in the starting five as long as one of Nelson and Harris remains out.

Nelson will come back first, possibly as soon as Dec. 6, but his health has been a frequent concern throughout his career. E'Twaun Moore and Beno Udrih combined to make 30 starts in 2012-13 with Nelson missing 26 games.

Harris, who missed the first three weeks of the regular season with a severely sprained ankle and was able to play just one game before experiencing soreness again, has been shut down until he is 100 percent.

That means the path in front of Oladipo will be clear indefinitely, and fantasy owners shouldn't count out the Magic stepping in to avoid it becoming obstructed.

Harris can play both forward spots, so the team can choose to bring Glen Davis off the bench and start Arron Afflalo at the three. The 28-year-old Afflalo, who is averaging a career-high 22.6 ppg, and 27-year-old Davis will also be a trade candidate as Orlando looks worsen itself for a top-five draft pick in the loaded 2014 draft and pick up some future assets.

In any case, this certainly isn't going to be a situation like last season, when Portland's Damian Lillard seemed to wrap up the top rookie award in November.

The race is on, and MCW's balky right knee may cause him to slow down just enough for Oladipo to pass him.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.