After a comeback win that saw Victor Oladipo hit a game-winning three against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, it adds to the career season he is having with the Indiana Pacers. With the opportunity to be more free as a player and take more of an offensive load, Oladipo has taken advantage of the situation and been key to the 14-11 start for the Pacers.
Victor Oladipo Taking Advantage of Opportunity With Indiana Pacers
Career Highs All Over the Board
Oladipo has seen improvements in almost all of his stats. He currently has career high’s in points per game (23.3), rebounds per game (5.2), field goal percentage (48.3), three-point percentage (43.7) and steals per game (1.9). Oladipo has boosted his scoring by nearly eight points per game from last season. Arguably, the most impressive stat is his improved three-point shooting. Before this season, Oladipo never shot above 36 percent from beyond the arc. While there have been improvements each season from three, to have a seven percent increase from last season is remarkable. Because the three-pointer is starting to fall consistently, it has opened up the floodgates to what Oladipo can do on the offensive end.
With the Pacers, Oladipo is being more free of a player. He usually brings the ball up and the offense starts with him. Head Coach Nate McMillan giving him that freedom lets Oladipo build confidence and grow as a player, which we have seen throughout the season. Oladipo has formed a chemistry with Myles Turner, which helps considering the offense is going to run through those two. At the top of the key, they work well in the pick and roll and dribble hand off. Oladipo is either going to shoot the mid-range jumper or find Turner on the roll or pop.
A Better Fit with the Pacers
In Oklahoma City, it never seemed Oladipo was able to find his niche. The Thunder were a slow-paced, half court team. And if we are being honest, the Thunder were all about Russell Westbrook last season. While it looked like it could have been the coming out party for Oladipo, he never seemed comfortable. For all we know, part of the reason he is playing well now could be because he is longer playing with Westbrook. That is another conversation for another day, though.
The Pacers are a run and gun team, which is a good fit for Oladipo. For someone with his athleticism, it helps to be able to get out in transition and use the athleticism to his advantage. The Pacers are currently 9th in the league for pace, which shows they are following the gameplan set by McMillan. They also have a 109.6 offensive rating, which is good for 7th in the league. Looking at these stats, it is clear this is a better fit for Oladipo to use his strengths and grow as a player.
This past off-season, Oladipo was a gym rat. In a three week period, his body looked completely different. During this time he worked with trainer David Alexander, who has worked with other NBA players. To have your body in the best shape possible is important to make sure the player can withstand the grind of an NBA season.
Victor Oladipo is making gains this offseason 👀 pic.twitter.com/gL2NIMq1Lt
— ProCity Hoops™ (@ProCityHoops) June 20, 2017
With all of these improvements, Oladipo has put himself in a great situation. He is currently on a 4-year, $84 million contract and has lived up to it. It is possible Oladipo could be an All Star if he keeps this play up. The case could also be made for him being the favorite for the Most Improved Player Award. All in all, being traded to Indiana has done wonders for Oladipo.
*stats per basketball reference