Victor Oladipo stuffs the stat sheet as Pacers win in Orlando
It’s an interesting time to be an Indiana Pacers fan. You’re organization seemingly shipped your best player to a title contender for little more than a one dimensional filler and a lottery bust who spent most of last season underperforming.
Five weeks into the season, the aforementioned statement couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it’s hard to see how the offseason deal could’ve turned out more favorably for Indiana.
While Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder sit at an disappointing 7-9 record, the Pacers have overachieved to reach 10-8, unlocked the full potential of former number two overall pick Victor Oladipo, and revitalized the career of sophomore forward Domantas Sabonis.
Oladipo has shattered expectations and exploded onto the scene with All-Star-like numbers of 22.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.8 dimes per game. As for Sabonis, the once perceived draft day blunder has done a complete 180. The Lithuanian big man has more than doubled his scoring and nearly tripled his rebounding from his rookie year averages.
Basketball experts predicted 2017-2018 to be a breakout season for franchise centerpiece Myles Turner, but through 18 games, it appears the promising center isn’t quite ready for that responsibility. Luckily for the Pacers, with the emergence of Oladipo and Sabonis, the enormous pressure of becoming a star while being face of a franchise has been lifted from Turner’s shoulders.
Although many expected Oladipo to fall back to earth after his hot start, for the fifth-year two guard, Monday night’s matchup against his former team was more of the same. In his most well-rounded game as a professional, the athletic stopper loaded the box score.
The former Indian Hoosier standout tallied 29 points, nine boards, five assists, seven steals and two blocks all while committing just one turnover. On a night that saw the rest of his team struggle, Oladipo came in clutch and delivered just the performance his team needed to take the win on the road against the Orlando Magic.
As the final horn echoed through the Amway Center, the score read 105-97 in favor of the Pacers.
Oladipo had little success with the Magic after they drafted him in 2015, and he struggled to fit in alongside the ball dominant Rusell Westbrook. However, something clicked inside the springy shooting guard upon retuning to the state of his alma mater, and he’s looked like a completely new player.
It’s odd how idioms find a way of proving themselves true in every day life, but on his third team in five years, it appears as though the third time really is the charm for Victor Oladipo.