Pacers Season Review: Life with and without Victor Oladipo

Indiana Pacers (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Indiana Pacers (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – JANUARY 23: Victor Oladipo #4 of the Indiana Pacers is taken off of the court on a stretcher after being injured in the second quarter of the game against the Toronto Raptors at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on January 23, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

You cannot tell the story of the 2018-19 Indiana Pacers without mentioning Victor Oladipo’s injuries. I mean, I couldn’t even make this post without alluding to it from the top.

Oladipo only started 36 games for the Pacers this season. Two of those starts were cut short due to injuries that led to lengthy inactive periods. It is difficult to find success when the heart and soul of your team is absent for more than half of the games.

Indiana won 25 of the 36 games in which Oladipo started, and they were among the best in the NBA most of the season. Better yet, the Pacers were third in the Eastern Conference when Oladipo was lost for the season.

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After January 23rd, Indiana split the rest of the way, going 23-23. That was enough to slide them down to fifth in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs. The absence of Vic put the Pacers in a difficult spot at the end of the year, as expected. Rather than holding home court in the first round, Indiana traveled to Boston.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. Oladipo loves to play against Boston. He plays aggressive when matched up with the Celtics. In his career, Victor Oladipo has 38 steals against Boston, tied for the most by team with the Brooklyn Nets. He has also attempted 87 free throws vs. Boston, good for second among NBA teams. That is a sign of Vic driving to the basket and taking control of the game.

Having Oladipo in that series would have given the Pacers a real chance to succeed. Having him at the end of the season probably would have kept them out of that situation to begin with. Either way, this was a tough season for Oladipo and company.

The past is the past, and we can never change that. But what does Victor Oladipo’s future hold?