Two years ago, Victor Oladipo was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Indiana Pacers, along with Domantas Sabonis, for Paul George. That was when Oladipo was truly challenged and had to prove himself on a completely different team. He succeeded, but now he has to prove himself again, post-injury.
To many basketball fans, it might seem like a lifetime ago since Victor played. Last January, he ruptured his right quad tendon. His doctors ruled him out for a whole year minimum. This must have been a completely devastating follow-up to his best season yet.
In the 2017-2018 NBA regular season, Victor Oladipo was a total beast. He averaged a career-high 24.5 points per game, 5.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 2.5 steals. This might not seem that impressive, but it was truly what the Pacers needed. His player efficiency for that season was the highest it had ever been and he was awarded the NBA’s Most Improved Player award at the end of the season. Most importantly, he led the Pacers to 48 wins: making them eligible for the playoffs during the first year after trading Paul George. That season, Victor needed to prove himself to Indiana after only getting to play one year for the Thunder, and especially because he was traded for someone else.
Since his injury, Victor Oladipo has been in rehab and has been training with incredible effort, despite difficulty. The date of his return has yet to be determined, but in the mean-time, Victor has been practicing with the Pacers’ G-League team.
So far, Indiana is 17-9 this season. Players have been moved around to try and fill the empty space in their team since Oladipo’s injury, but for the most part, they have come up short. Even though 17-9 is a great record, the Pacers have had a fairly-easy schedule and will have a rude awakening when they have to play teams like the Milwaukee Bucks later on in the season. This Tuesday, they will face a significant challenge when they play Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and the red-hot, 23-3 Los Angeles Lakers.
Regardless of whatever happens, Pacers fans have been awaiting the return of Victor Oladipo. And even though his arrival to the court might still be a little-while out, when he does return he will have the whole-hearted support of a fanbase that is desperate to see their star back.
By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA – Victor Oladipo, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67453536