What makes Victor Oladipo’s play so important for the Indiana Pacers?
Five games into the 2020-2021 NBA season, Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo is already looking close to his All-Star form, if not back completely. The fact that it’s only five games doesn’t allow for us to exactly know if he can keep it up, but I have full faith in him. Let’s talk about why he is so crucial to our success.
Scoring: Shot-creating all around the court
Victor Oladipo is a threat from any spot on the court, and I mean anywhere. He is what people would define as a three-level scorer, meaning he can score at the rim, in the mid-range, and his range expands out to the three-point line and beyond. Along with that, he has the dynamic of being able to play on and off the ball which makes a player so much more valuable, especially when you have other threats that can make plays with the ball in their hands.
Any way you can think of scoring, Victor Oladipo probably has it in his bag. He came up through the league with slashing being his strong suit, making acrobatic layups, or jamming it down any chance he got. He shot threes but not at the same rate that he does now or in his first year with OKC. He became a real shooting threat the last few seasons and now he has the perfect coach to allow him to shoot more threes, and that opens up his game a lot.
With a pick and roll being a big feature in his scoring, the opposing defense is in for a nightmare when guarding him. If they step under the screen he can use his range to knock down a three (on or off-balance), but if they step over the screen he can use his speed to drive to the rim for a layup or even pull up from mid-range.
He doesn’t just rely on a pick to get his offense going, his isolation game is top tier because his speed allows him to get past his defender if they are even slightly out of position. Another isolation move that Victor Oladipo uses a lot is backing up a few steps to allow him to drive at his defender and pull up from three.
Playmaking: Getting shots for others
His scoring and the ability to make plays for his teammates go hand in hand. It isn’t like he’s some maestro with the ball like Steve Nash, his playmaking ability comes from how much of a threat he is on offense. If anyone overplays him, he has the great court vision and passing accuracy that allows him to make the right play while running downhill.
I think the biggest part of his playmaking ability is that he is unselfish on the court. When getting downhill he could easily take every shot that he wants to, but he looks for his teammates. If he had tunnel vision, Victor Oladipo would be dramatically less effective on the court, so let’s all be thankful for that.
Defense: Playing on the less attractive side
If you forgot, Victor Oladipo made All-Defensive First Team in 2017-18. I think in the new system under Nate Bjorkgren, Oladipo’s defensive impact is going to increase. Nate likes to run a defensive system where they pester the opposition trying to not let them get into their offense or get in a rhythm.
Oladipo has the athleticism that allows him to quickly recover if he overplays his matchup, and it also allows him to quickly react and get himself in the passing lane for an easy steal. That’s where his impact is going to show because his defense is going to directly translate into offense on the other end.