Victor Oladipo became an All-Star during the 2017-18 NBA season for the Indiana Pacers. After finishing up a disappointing season with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016-17, Indiana traded star Paul George to the Thunder in exchange for Oladipo and big man Domantas Sabonis. That move ended up being exactly what the doctor ordered for both the Pacers and Oladipo.
Coming into the season, the hype surrounding Oladipo was huge in Indiana. Other places in the nation, however, had already written the Pacers off. No one thought that Kevin Pritchard got enough in return for George and the playoffs were out of the question.
Despite all of the naysayers, Indiana finished the regular season with a 48-34 record. Not only did they put together a huge regular season, the Pacers also pushed the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James to seven games in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
While the Pacers may not have advanced in the playoffs, it was the best season Indiana could have asked for. Not only was the team good, but the fans finally view Indiana as a Pacers’ city once again. Oladipo is the cornerstone of the franchise and Indiana will build around him moving forward.
Oladipo ended up averaging 23.1 points per game during the regular season to go along with 5.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists. He shot 47.7 percent from the field overall and knocked down 37.1 percent of his three-point attempts. Not only did he put up big offensive numbers, Oladipo also led the NBA in steals.
All of that being said, what grade does Oladipo deserve for his performance throughout the season and what were some of his biggest highlights?
Victor Oladipo just finished a close Game 7. He’s already texting his trainer about getting back to work ???? pic.twitter.com/GvAVvMNn8Y— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) April 29, 2018
Let’s go ahead and jump into the main reason that you’re here. You want to see highlights from Oladipo’s All-Star season with the Pacers.
First and foremost, this section cannot start without his 47-point performance against the Denver Nuggets. It was a historic performance for Oladipo and Pacers’ fans were absolutely shocked by it.
Next, we have to rewind just a couple short weeks to Game 1 of the Pacers’ playoff series with the Cavaliers. Oladipo led the Pacers to a 98-80 victory and put the NBA on notice. He scored 32 points in the game and was absolutely unstoppable.
How could we not include his “Black Panther Dunk” from the All-Star Dunk Contest?
Why not throw another game from the playoffs into the mix. Oladipo recorded a massive triple-double in Game 6 when the Pacers were facing elimination. Indiana blew the Cavaliers out by 34 in this game and kept their season alive for one more game.
Finally, Oladipo’s game against the Boston Celtics on February 9 cannot be left off the list. There are too many Oladipo highlights to fit into one article, but this is a good one to end on for now. Oladipo scored 35 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and recorded five steals in a Pacers’ victory over Boston.
Oladipo’s 2017-18 season was one to remember for the Pacers. Not only did he become a star himself, he also put the Pacers back on the map in the NBA. Trading George was a huge blow for the city of Indianapolis, but bringing back the former Indiana Hoosiers star ended up being a move that has set the franchise in a good place long-term.
Pritchard was bashed for the trade, but he firmly believed that Oladipo was special. The former No. 2 overall pick proved that he simply hadn’t found the right home yet in the NBA, and coming back home to Indiana was the move that he needed to take his career to the next level.
Grading his season isn’t difficult at all. He proved all the doubters and critics wrong and gave LeBron James the hardest first round test that he has ever had to endure.
Indiana may not be a championship contender in 2018-19, but it would be naive to count Oladipo and the Pacers out after the way they played this season.
Victor Oladipo 2017-18 NBA Season Grade: A+