Victor Oladipo has officially missed half of the Indiana Pacers games this season. The team misses him more than ever.
The Indiana Pacers miss Victor Oladipo. I mean, duh, but it bears repeating after a recent run of losses.
The Pacers offense looks putrid recently. In the month of March, they have the leagues 28th ranked offense. The ball just won’t go in the net. They seem to have a stretch every single game where they just can’t generate a good shot, and they can’t make anything as a result.
If they run a play that gets thwarted by the defense, they don’t have any awesome options to score the ball late in the shot clock like they do when Oladipo is playing. He can turn a bad possession into a good one. But that option has now been gone for half the season.
Now that it has officially been 72 games, we can see what Vic really does for the Pacers. He has played in 36 games this year — that means we have an equal sample of games Oladipo played and did not play. It’s the perfect time for a bit of reflection.
An obvious place to start is the team’s record. When Indiana’s All-Star hit the floor this season, the Pacers were 25-11. That’s a 57 win pace, which would compete for a top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Of course, without Vic things are going to be much worse. He is the best player on the team. They are 19-17 (43 win pace) when he’s been out with an injury, which I think is actually an impressive figure. This roster was built around playing with Oladipo. These guys being able to find success and still have the winning percentage of a playoff team without him is impressive and a testament to the talent on the roster.
But the pitfalls still exist. You just read about the offensive rating in March. The schedule this month has been brutal for the Indiana Pacers, but with OIadipo they have beaten good teams this year while scoring effectively. They can’t score right now, and missing their star has a lot to do with that.
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In games in which Victor Oladipo plays, the Pacers have an offensive rating of 111.7. That’s a fringe top-10 offense. It’s more than good enough to score against the best teams and definitely enough to outscore the other team given how good Indiana’s defense is.
In the 36 games with Vic, the Pacers offensive rating is 109.4. That’s still fine, right around league average, but a tick below where they are with Oladipo on the floor. It can win you some games (like against the Thunder last week) but it also stunts your chances against teams that have high powered offenses themselves (sup, losses to Portland and Denver). Vic would have been enough to win them those two games.
Even simpler? Sure. When Oladipo plays, the Pacers shoot 52.13% on 2-pointers and 37.62% on 3s. When he sits, those numbers drop to 51.51% and 36.83%. Indy’s shot quality drops when he’s out, and they make fewer shots as a result. Recently, we’ve seen the extreme end of that.
Oh! And defense exists, and Vic is pretty good at that too (all-Defense team good). He was on pace to finish top-10 in steals per game this season before his injury, and outside of box score stuff, he’s a very good on-ball defender thanks to his speed and footwork. He’s a menace.
In the 36 games Oladipo played, the Indiana Pacers had a defense rating of basically 106, just a hair under. That’s a top-5 mark.
In the 3-dozen games without him, the defense rating is 107.1 for the team. Still very good, fringe top-10 basically, but a tier below where they are with him.
The no-Vic defense has actually been solid, and the addition of Wesley Matthews has helped on that end of the floor. But it’s still worse than when Oladipo does play, and that could have made the difference in helping the Pacers win against Memphis. Or Orlando. Or Detroit. Or Oraldno again. Or Denver.
You get the point.
These incremental drops seem insignificant but are a huge deal in the aggregate. The offense is basically 2.5 points per 100 possessions better in games with Oladipo. The defense is a shade over 1 point per 100 possession better when he plays. Put together, and the Pacers are nearly 4 points per 100 possessions better with Vic on the floor. Oh, did I mention the Pacers average 99 possessions per game? So Vic makes them 4 points better, on average, in a regular season game.
In the 36 games san-Vic, the Pacers lost 4 of them by 4 or fewer points. So there are 4 extra wins right there if he’s healthy all season long. That doesn’t even count the stretches without him AND someone else, since Domantas Sabonis, Tyreke Evans, Doug McDermott, and Myles Turner have all missed time since his season-ending injury.
Shouting numbers at you is one way to do it, but everyone alive understands that the Indiana Pacers are better with Victor Oladipo. Now that he has missed half of the season, we can see the tangible impact that it has had on the team.
Get well soon, Vic.