With one-third of the 2017-2018 NBA season in the books, the Indiana Pacers are one of the better stories in the league. Where there was a belief in some corners that the Pacers could scratch and claw toward the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference if everything went well, virtually no one predicted that Indiana would be in the thick of everything with a 16-11 record in mid-December.
There are several reasons for Indiana’s unlikely and impressive start but the biggest impact has come from 25-year-old shooting guard Victor Oladipo. Earlier this week, the former Magic and Thunder guard helped the Pacers snap a lengthy Cavaliers winning streak and, on Sunday, Oladipo put on another show with a career-best performance.
This time around, Oladipo exploded for 47 points (on 15 of 28 shooting), seven rebounds and six assists in a 126-116 victory over the Denver Nuggets and everyone agreed that the former Indiana standout was lights-out during his career-high showing. In fact, two future Hall of Fame guards quickly weighed in about his brilliance on Sunday and throughout the early portion of the 2017-18 campaign.
First, it was Chris Paul chiming in about “his guy.”
Then, Dwyane Wade predicted even bigger things in the future from Oladipo.
Given that Oladipo has never produced quite at this level of efficiency, some measure of regression could be on the way in the future. In the same breath, the former No. 2 overall pick is now displaying the considerable upside that made him a pre-draft favorite in many circles and Oladipo is simultaneously making the Pacers look smarter on the heels of a much-maligned trade that sent Paul George to Oklahoma City.
It’s still early but Victor Oladipo suddenly looks like a star and the rest of the league is taking notice.