Trust or Bust: Victor Oladipo

Steve Hamann
Victor Oladipo
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

 

Fans knew that Victor Oladipo’s time as an Indiana Pacer was nearing an end.  Many were still shocked when Oladipo’s name surfaced in trade talks. The trade has now opened up new opportunities for the guard. It also provides him with the chance to be the focus of the Rocket’s offense for the rest of the 2021 NBA season. Lets discuss if Oladipo will shine in his time in Houston or if he will flop moving forward.

Oladipo’s Role in Houston?

No one will deny that the Indiana Pacers are one of the best teams in the East. The roster is filled with talent and depth with stars like Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis, and Myles Turner. While Oladipo was in Indiana, the veteran guard battled multiple injuries that affected his minutes and availability for the Pacers. This year, Oladipo consistently struggled to find his role in the Pacer’s offense. Even while struggling to find his identity, he still showed his immense talent. He averaged twenty points per game and had a career-high in rebounds averaging 5.7 a game.

Just one game after being traded, Oladipo showed Houston that he can be the focal point of their offense and can be more than the fourth option on a team. He saw thirty-two minutes in his Rockets debut and chipped in thirty-two points while shooting 57% from the field and 44% from behind the three-point line.

Houston is facing an identity crisis themselves. After trading their franchise player, the Rockets were left without a go-to guy to turn to in the crucial moments of a game. John Wall has been in and out of the lineup this year resting his sore knee; and would likely not be able to carry the weight of the Rockets by himself. That is where Oladipo comes into play. The newly acquired guard can play out of position at point guard when Wall takes time off and then slide right back into the two-guard when Wall is in the lineup.

Return to Prominence

The Indiana product has been quietly putting together one of his best seasons since his 2017-18 all-star campaign. Oladipo is averaging over 21 points a game with 5.6 rebounds and 4.7 assists. He is playing some of the most efficient basketball of his career as well. His defensive contributions cannot be overlooked either. Oladipo can terrorize opposing guards while on defense, forcing just shy of two steals a game this year. His ability to beat opposing players off the dribble will also help the Rockets down the stretch.

Just wait until the chemistry grows! The slasher will be able to drive and kick to players like Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker spotting up for catch and shoot opportunities. Oladipo will also be paired with budding star Christian Wood. The Rockets will attack more pick and rolls between the two, and both players’ numbers will benefit from this play style. The Houston Rockets showed that they are comfortable with the high-risk high-reward that Oladipo can offer. If Oladipo can stay healthy, I believe he will have an excellent finish to the 2021 NBA season.

Prediction: Trust

 

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