A look inside Victor Oladipo’s recent regression

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 15: Victor Oladipo
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 15: Victor Oladipo /

As the Indiana Pacers season comes to a close, Victor Oladipo looks to regain his offensive mojo.

Victor Oladipo has been an All-Star. He’s been the mayor of Indy and everything in between. But most of all, he’s been exactly what this young Pacers team needed. His infectious energy and tireless work ethic were what sold Kevin Pritchard on him from the get-go.

His production thus far has been a huge bonus. Vic has announced himself as a star to build around, averaging just under 24 points per game. He’s been everything for Indiana.

But maybe everything has begun to take a bit of a toll on the young guard.

Recent trends and numbers that support the slippage

Almost all of his advanced stats are down recently. From net rating to offensive rating and most everything in between, this trend shows up all over the analytics.

These are some factors that have played into his recent struggle.


Oladipo has never had to carry this sort of burden before. He is obviously capable, but because of circumstance, he has never really had the chance. This may be a factor in his recent shooting struggles.

Before All-Star break shooting percentages:

48.4% from the field, 38.1% from three and 81% from the free-throw line.

After All-Star break shooting percentages:

42% from the field, 28.1% from three and 76.5% from the free-throw line.

Again, for my money, fatigue and elevated usage rates have played a big role in Vic’s shooting regression. Also maybe a bit of “water always finds its level” could be at play as his recent numbers are a little closer to his career average than his incredible start was.

Points Per Game

Perhaps Oladipo’s biggest improvement from last year to this has been in the scoring category. Vic has upped his average from last year by a whopping 7.4 ppg from his brief stay in OKC. His attacking style coupled with improved shooting and a higher usage has made him a lethal scorer on the perimeter.

But, as his shooting has slipped so has his points per game.

Before All-Star break points per game: 24.4

After All-Star break points per game: 19.2

While his shooting is down; see above, my biggest take away from his ppg dip is his trips to the line in the second half or lack thereof, are down.

Before the All-Star break, Oladipo was getting to the line 5.3 times per game and making a little over four of those. Post All-Star break Oladipo is only there 3.9 times per game while making exactly three.

Teams are beginning to load up on him in transition making it hard for him to jet to the rim at will. This, along with the fact that his shot often makes it unnecessary for the opposition to close hard in the half court, creates limited opportunities to draw fouls.


Something, I at least, thought Vic might have a hard time with this season was turnovers. When you go from handling the ball in moderation to being THE play-maker, it can be tough.

But, Oladipo’s turnovers were a nonfactor in the first half of the season. His tight handle and career-year Darren Collison have eased the overblown usage factor.

Before All-Star break turnovers: 2.8 turnovers per game and 1.5 assist/turnover ratio

After All-Star break turnovers: 3.4 turnovers per game and 1.3 assist/turnover ratio

Fatigue may play a part in this recent trend as well. But, I think it has more to do with the added pressure the opposition has put on the Indiana University product. Teams have begun to trap hard out of pick and roll opportunities, a challenge Oladipo will have to learn to navigate.

Also, it’s no secret that Oladipo’s worst stretch of the season came at the same time DC missed 11 games due to injury. DC is back now.

The Darren Collison effect is real

Not only is DC another veteran presence and a great leader, but he’s also an invaluable running mate for Oladipo. Vic’s backcourt partner may not add much on the defensive end, but he more than makes up for it on offense.

He is the type of secondary playmaker the Pacers need on the court to help share the offensive burden with the star swingman.

Numbers with Collison out of the line-up:

22.6 ppg, 41.8 percent from the field with 3.5 turnovers per game

Numbers with Collison in the line-up:

23 ppg, 47.3 percent from the field with 2.8 turnovers per game

Surprisingly, his points per game haven’t dipped much with DC on the injury report. Unsurprisingly his efficiency and turnovers have risen enough to know he’s taking on too much of the offensive load.

This is no slight against Cory Joseph, there were moments he looked at home in the starting line-up and the Pacers were actually 7-3 in the 10 game window with that duo running the backcourt.

But, it’s nice to have someone to relieve some of the offensive pressure Vic has had to carry almost all year.

Victor Oladipo Indiana Pacers
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MARCH 09: Victor Oladipo /

One glaring positive recent trend? Defense

While Vic has slumped a bit post-All-Star break, his defense has not. He has been as relentless as ever on that end of the court. His steals are up and he now holds an Indiana Pacers record of 54 straight games with a steal (and counting).

Before All-Star break steals: 2.1 steals per game

After All-Star break steals: 2.9 steals per game

Yes, Oladipo has seen most of his “glamorous” stats dip. But, he knows this as well as anybody and has used that as fuel to his defensive fire. He has all the tools to be a great NBA defender. He’s quick, long, rangy and has great hands.

He now leads the league in steals and did I mention he’s had a steal in 54 STRAIGHT GAMES.

Vic looks to lead the Pacers into the playoffs in the best way he knows how

Yes, Oladipo has regressed slightly on the offensive end. But, this is exactly why Kevin Pritchard wanted him.

His confidence, charisma, and leadership have shown no regression at all.

Next: Myles Turner’s love of Legos and Star Wars come together

He continues to find ways to contribute and with Collison back I fully expect Vic’s offense to push closer to his pre-All-Star break self.