Victor Oladipo 2018 Season Review

Pacers guard Victor Oladipo reflects on his first All-Star season and discusses his plans for improvement during the offseason.

Victor Oladipo 2018 Player Review

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Victor Oladipo 2018 Season Review

Pacers guard Victor Oladipo reflects on his first All-Star season and discusses his plans for improvement during the offseason.
May 16, 2018  |  02:57

Victor Oladipo 2017-18 Season Highlights

Check out the top plays from All-Star Victor Oladipo's stellar 2017-18 season.
May 16, 2018  |  02:02

My Home Court: Victor Oladipo

Growing up in Maryland, Pacers guard Victor Oladipo tagged along with his mom on trips to the grocery store so that he could get up shots at a nearby court. Years later, he's an NBA All-Star.
Feb 16, 2018  |  01:46

Oladipo's Improvement Largely Unprecedented

by Wheat Hotchkiss Writer/Editor

The 2018 NBA Awards are still nearly three weeks away, but there's little mystery surrounding one award. Pacers All-Star guard Victor Oladipo has been the prohibitive favorite to win Most Improved Player since the start of the season and, barring a major surprise, should take home the hardware over fellow finalists Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie and Rockets center Clint Capela on June 25.

Oladipo took a star turn in his fifth NBA season and his first in Indiana, emerging as a go-to scorer and locker room leader for the Blue & Gold. Assuming he takes home Most Improved Player honors, Oladipo will become the fifth Pacers player to win the award, joining Jalen Rose (1999-2000), Jermaine O'Neal (2001-02), Danny Granger (2008-09), and Paul George (2012-13).

While each of those players had great seasons in the year in which they won the award (all but Rose were named an All-Star), Oladipo's season was arguably the best of them all.

PHOTO GALLERY: Victor Oladipo's 2017-18 Season in Photos »

Oladipo's scoring average of 23.1 points per game was tied for ninth in the NBA this season and an increase of 7.2 points per game from his 2016-17 scoring average in Oklahoma City. That's a larger increase than any previous Pacers player to win the award. Only Granger averaged more points per game in the season that he won.

Player Season PPG PPG Increase FG% USG% USG% Increase
Victor Oladipo 2017-18 23.1 7.2 .477 30.1 8.7
Paul George 2012-13 17.4 5.3 .419 23.5 4.2
Danny Granger 2008-09 25.8 6.2 .447 29.6 6.4
Jermaine O'Neal 2001-02 19.0 6.1 .479 24.9 3.7
Jalen Rose 1999-2000 18.2 7.1 .471 23.2 -1.5

Oladipo's improvement wasn't just limited to his scoring. The former Indiana University All-American set career highs in all five major statistical categories (points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks) last season, a feat matched by only George. Oladipo also was the only player of the five to lead the NBA in a stat category, averaging 2.4 steals per game (O'Neal led the league in total blocks the year prior to winning Most Improved Player).

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Oladipo's season was his efficiency. The 6-4 guard attempted 167 more shots and 82 more 3-pointers than his previous season highs, but still posted the best shooting percentages of his career, with a .477 field goal percentage and .371 3-point percentage.

To put that into perspective, only O'Neal had a better field goal percentage in the season in which he won, converting 47.9 percent of his shots. But considering that O'Neal was a post player and Oladipo plays on the perimeter, it's all the more impressive that Oladipo was nearly as efficient from the field.

Jalen Rose, Jermaine O'Neal, Danny Granger, Paul George

Victor Oladipo would be the fifth Pacers player to win the Most Improved Player award, joining Jalen Rose, Jermaine O'Neal, Danny Granger, and Paul George.

Oladipo's efficiency is even more impressive when considering how large a role he played in the Pacers' offense. His usage rate of 30.1 (meaning he either shot the ball, turned it over, or drew a foul in 30.1 percent of the Pacers possessions when he was on the floor) was higher than any of the other Pacers players to win the award, and over five points higher than all but Granger. It was also a dramatic increase from his previous season with the Thunder, when his usage rate was just 21.4.

Oladipo's case is somewhat different from the previous Pacers players to win the award in that he is the only one who changed teams the year prior to his breakout season. So while Pacers fans were able to witness firsthand the year-to-year growth of Rose, O'Neal, Granger, and George, Oladipo's emergence may have felt more sudden.

That doesn't mean that it was any less enjoyable, however. Perhaps no team in franchise history exceeded expectations more than the 2017-18 Pacers and the biggest reason for that was Oladipo's growth, transforming from a secondary option into an All-Star.

That's to say nothing for the impact his attitude had on everyone in the organization. In their end-of-season press conference, Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard praised Oladipo as "positively infectious," while head coach Nate McMillan said "his positivity pulls everybody up."

So while it may not be a surprise when Oladipo is named Most Improved Player, it certainly will be a night for celebration in Indiana.


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