Indiana Pacers: Has Victor Oladipo Emerged As Top Shooting Guard In Eastern Conference? [Opinion]

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Before the season, trying to figure out where Victor Oladipo ranked in the hierarchy of shooting guards in the NBA was like trying to guard DeMarcus Cousins on the low block. You may think you figured it out but eventually, he would just overpower you. Well, with Oladipo it was the same. From his time with the Orlando Magic to his one year stint with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Oladipo has been an enigma.

During his time with the Magic, Oladipo averaged a modest 15.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, and four assists in his first three seasons in the league. While still adapting, and pegged as the face of the rebuilding Magic franchise, he was traded for Serge Ibaka in 2016. While paired with Russell Westbrook, Oladipo got his first taste of the playoffs while averaging 15.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. But, despite putting up similar numbers in OKC, he was sent packing to the Indiana Pacers for Paul George.

With George gone and the Pacers picked to struggle this season, no one said that Oladipo had to as well. With the move, everyone envisioned the same Oladipo from the Magic and Thunder and figured he would play second fiddle to Myles Turner in Indiana. But, that hasn’t been the case so far as he has put up All-Star numbers according to Bleacher Report.

Since the season started, Oladipo has taken his career to new heights. When looking over the Eastern Conference, who has been the best shooting guard this season? Some can make a claim for DeMar DeRozan or Bradley Beal, but has either of them actually been better than Oladipo? While DeRozan (23.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.7 assists) is having a better season team-wise, he also has help from All-Star guard Kyle Lowry. The same goes for Beal (22.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.3 assists) and John Wall.

While Beal and DeRozan are household names, Oladipo has put up better numbers. Who has shot better from the field from two-point range? Oladipo sits at 48 percent, Beal at 45 percent, and DeRozan at 48 percent. Take it out a bit further and who hits a higher percentage from deep? Oladipo has shot 44 percent, Beal sits at 36 percent, and DeRozan is struggling with 27 percent. But then again, when mentioning the best, DeRozan and Beal will get the nod because Oladipo has managed to fly under the radar. But not for too much longer.

Some may call this a breakout year or a fluke but for Oladipo, this is nothing more than a player getting his chance to shine after learning the ropes. After what many will call two failed stints with different teams, Oladipo has finally made a name for himself where most thought he wouldn’t.