Indiana Basketball: Victor Oladipo Season Preview
Victor Oladipo has had a bit of a bumpy road since winning the Most Improved Player award and making All-NBA Third Team in 2017. The former Hoosier standout ruptured his quadriceps muscle in his right leg after just 36 games in the 2018-2019 season.
Oladipo returned towards the end of the 2020 season but just didn’t look the same. He played in 19 games last season, averaging 27.8 minutes per game (he was on a minutes restriction), 14.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and just 0.9 steals.
The minute’s restriction has to do some with those numbers, but anyone could tell that Oladipo looked rusty.
Questions remain about whether or not the Pacers guard can return to his All-Star status. On one hand, Oladipo was returning from a severe injury, but on the other hand, we see many stars return to their old form upon return from bad injuries.
To add to the iffiness of Oladipo’s offseason, he has had several moments where his loyalty to the Pacers seemed fragile. Several reports came out at various times in the past six months that Oladipo wanted to get out of Indiana. It was reported that the shooting guard was asking players on other teams if he could come to play with them.
This was one of several different accounts of Oladipo wanting out of Indiana, but the former Hoosier has refuted all claims and says he is happy there. I don’t buy it, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least bit if a borderline contender traded for him at the deadline.
As I documented in several articles about potential Oladipo trades, any team that may trade for Oladipo would be buying low. If he could return to his 2017 status, it would be a great trade at a low cost. However, he could very easily struggle the rest of his career and not be worth giving up an asset.
Those close to the game aren’t very high on the Pacers despite most of their team is back. The East will be much more competitive this season, and the Pacers will have to fight hard to get a higher seed than six.
If I were a GM of another team, I would trade for Oladipo now. It is my belief that, with his great work ethic, he can get back close to his 2017-caliber season. Right now the situation in Indiana is tenuous, and you could get him for a pretty low price. I’d love to see Oladipo as the third option on a championship team, where he could be a secondary ball-handler and scorer, and primary defender.
The Pacers have a chance to supersede low expectations if Oladipo gets back to his old ways. It will be interesting to see if he can return to that form.