The Emergence of Victor Oladipo and His Impact on the Indiana Pacers
Victor Oladipo is in his fifth NBA season. After years of unfilled promise, Oladipo is finally making a name for himself. The fifth year guard has already bounced around the NBA quite a bit, as he is now playing for the Indiana Pacers after being traded twice. So far this year, Oladipo is averaging 23.4 points a game while shooting 48% from the field. Oladipo has always been considered talented, but now he’s finally in an organization in which he is thriving.
Oladipo began his career with the Orlando Magic after being drafted with the second overall pick in the 2013 draft. Orlando was hoping Oladipo would be a franchise cornerstone, however that’s not how things played out. After three years in Orlando, Oladipo was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Oladipo only lasted one year with the Thunder and compared to his previous years, it was a disappointing season. He averaged 15.9 points a game, his lowest since his rookie season. He only played in sixty seven games, which was a career low. This underwhelming season led to another change of scenery for Oladipo, as he was traded for one of the stars of the NBA. The Thunder traded Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to the Indiana Pacers for Paul George. This deal surprisingly has worked out well for both teams.
Oklahoma City got a superstar in George, and the Pacers have received the best version of Oladipo. Former teammates have noticed a change in Oladipo. Aaron Gordon, a former teammate said, “He looks like he’s home. He looks like he’s found a home that he can stay for a longtime. For a player that has already moved around a lot, this is key, and could be one of the reasons for his breakout year. Oladipo is not as talented as George, but he’s made it easier for fans to forget about the loss of their superstar. What Oladipo is going is even more impressive considering he is only twenty five.
Oladipo will not be this good all season. He is currently shooting 44% from three point range, well above his career average of 35.5%. He has a higher shooting percentage this year while taking more difficult shots. His numbers will likely fall off, but that doesn’t mean his play will change drastically. He will still be a very good player, and could be the go to scorer for this Pacers team for years to come. That is especially comforting considering that when the season began the Pacers did not know where their scoring would come from.
Oladipo will not put up the same numbers as Paul George did in Indiana. The Pacers are not expecting him to, as that would be unfair expectations. The Pacers could have done a lot worse than Oladipo. If he can maintain this hot start, the Pacers will be more than satisfied with what they’re getting.