When the Indiana Pacers made the decision to move on from Paul George last summer, many around the league felt as though it was a one-sided trade in favor of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Victor Oladipo in the early stages of the season is showing that this may not truly be the case.
The 25-year-old shooting guard has improved his shooting percentages both from the field and from three-point range in each of his five seasons in the league, showing a strong work ethic and willingness to improve.
That being said, no one – aside from probably himself – could have seen the heightened spike in three-point percentage coming this season. Through Indiana’s first 12 games, Oladipo is filling it up from long range at a rate of 45.3-percent, up from last year’s career high 36.1-percent with the Thunder. His scoring has also jumped from 15.9 points per game last year to 22.8 this season.
Much of the team’s success in their 5-7 start to the still young 2017-2018 season is thanks to Oladipo. Myles Turner established himself as a bona fide inside threat for the team before the arrival of Oladipo, but is still acclimating himself back into the rotation after suffering a concussion in the first game of the season.
Oladipo spent the summer training getting himself into the best physical shape of his life, even before he was dealt back into the Eastern Conference. He has seen a variety of roles in his five years in the league, beginning as a standout on a struggling Orlando Magic team, to playing alongside the MVP in Russell Westbrook, to now blossoming into the scorer he has shown to become for the Pacers. He is an able defender, thanks in no small part to his athleticism and high effort level. Now that he is winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week awards and releasing music, it begs the question — is there anything Victor Oladipo can’t do?
— Complex Music (@ComplexMusic) November 2, 2017
Speaking of Westbrook and the Thunder, it’s possible that Oladipo’s lone season in Oklahoma City was a turning point in his career. After spending the season sparring with the reigning MVP day in and day out in practice, and working hard on both ends of the floor, Oladipo proved that he can be a valuable player on a playoff team. That kind of rapport is exactly what the Pacers were looking for when they chose to build for the future around Oladipo, Turner, and Domantas Sabonis.
While they are young and not ready to contend in the East, if Oladipo stays hot the Pacers could surprise and rise up out of a myriad of mediocre teams and sneak into the playoffs come April.