Victor Oladipo: Man On Fire
After escaping the shadow and high usage of Russel Westbrook it could only be assumed that Victor Oladipo would get a chance to show the NBA what he is capable of. Exactly what that was, we weren't sure. What I saw was a young, better than average point guard who was going to a bottom dwelling team in the beginning of a rebuild. What I didn't see coming was this remarkable explosion in production. The eye test would prove to any casual fan that Oladipo has been sensational and if that casual fan had watched him in Orlando or Oklahoma City they would see the incredible leap he has made. Here's just how big that leap has been.
In three seasons with Orlando he averaged 15.9 point per game, in one season with the Thunder once again he put up 15.9 point per game. This year with Indiana Oladipo is averaging 24.5 points each game, nearly a 10 point improvement over his previous 4 years. This season he is shooting 44% from three while last year (his best shooting season so far) he shot 36% from deep and his box plus minus is up to 4.3 from -1.3. We knew his individual counting stats would improve when he became the go to guy but the amount of production he's taken on his shoulders while leading this young Indiana team has been impressive. On Friday evening Victor's Pacers beat Cleveland 106-102 behind his 33 points 8 rebounds and 5 assists and followed it up by beating the Nuggets two nights later in overtime with a career high 47 points. This dude is on a roll.
Oladipo's heroics have made a real impact. A team many saw outside of the playoff race now sits in the 5th spot in the east with a record of 16-11 boasting the 6th best offense in the league. Whatever he's changed, its working, though maybe its not a change in his game but rather a change in scenery that has this young guard firing on all cylinders. The Pacers are fun, the Pacers are winning, who needs Paul George anyway?