Victor Oladipo is clearly the Indiana Pacers best player. But a certain teammate allows Vic to play his best.
Buddy cop duos are one of the best spectacles in films. Men in Black, 21 Jump Street, and Lethal Weapon bring us some of the best and most entertaining movies in this variety thanks to two incredibly entertaining and cohesive partners in crime. The Indiana Pacers have a pretty great buddy cop duo themselves, and it is Victor Oladipo‘s partner in particular that leads the pack of entertainment and cohesion.
The best buddy cop duos aren’t the ones that are great for a small portion of the motion picture. Rather, the best buddy cops are entertaining, effective, gripping, and most importantly for movie cops, badass, for the entirety of the film. This form of logic applies to Indiana Pacers basketball as well.
The Oladipo-McDermott duo has only spent 38 minutes on the court together, just a hair over 3.5 minutes per game. They have a sensational +24.7 net rating, but that is due to an unsustainable 87.8 defensive rating.
Oladipo and Leaf have only played seven minutes together across six games, so we can’t draw any conclusions from their +15 net rating. So who is Oladipo’s real buddy cop? Who is his real partner in crime?
It’s Cory Joseph.
When CoJo and Oladipo share the court, the Pacers become an immovable object. No matter how hard opponents push and shove, this duo and their respective teammates just won’t budge. The guards currently support a gaudy 87.7 defensive rating when they share the floor together. For reference, the Boston Celtics currently have the best defense in the league, and that team has a 101.3 defensive rating. Comparing lineup ratings and team ratings is bad, but the reference point seems necessary just to point out how incredible this defensive duo has been.
Bankers Life Fieldhouse needs to invest in tornado insurance because these two are a defensive whirlwind capable of causing some serious damage. Opponents can’t find room to breathe due to the weather changes caused by the police force (can that nickname stick please?) and they struggle to get up good shot. Opposing teams are shooting just 32.64% from three-point range (47/144) when these two are on the court together.
CoJo has some offensive limitations, but one way to mitigate those limitations is to get more possessions for the team when he is in the game. When Joseph and Oladipo play together, the solution is easy, they just get a zillion steals. Opponents have coughed up 67 turnovers in 192 minutes against the police force, and you know what turnovers lead to?
Despite CoJo’s offensive limitations, this group is able to be good enough offensively thanks to what Joseph offers on the defensive end of the floor. Joseph can defend the opposing teams most talented guard, which allows Victor Oladipo to either roam effortlessly or take on an easier matchup. Either way, he is exerting less effort on that end of the floor when he plays with CoJo.
That lets Oladipo be the best version of himself on offense, where he can now use all of his energy. Vic has a 36.06 percent usage when he shares the court with CoJo. That’s a really high rate, but he is far and away the Pacers best offensive player. You can live with that.
Oladipo is averaging 24.4 points, 5.4 assists, and 8.1 rebounds per 36 minutes when he plays with CoJo. That is insane. That is the offensive Oladipo you need to win games, and when he is paired with Joseph, the Pacers have him.
In the clutch, the police force has been effective. They are a +5 in six minutes, with a 154 offensive rating and an even 100 defensive rating. When the game is on the line, this duo shows up to play, and they ensure the Indiana Pacers walk away with the win.
Buddy cops can turn an average plot into an amazing movie. Victor Oladipo and Cory Joseph can turn an average performance from the Indiana Pacers into a much-deserved win. The more they play together, the better it is for the team going forward.