Indiana Pacers shooting guard Victor Oladipo won the 2017-18 NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year award, an honor Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie thinks he should have gotten instead.
During an interview with Michael Grady of the YES Network, Dinwiddie said Oladipo and runner-up Clint Capela had great years, but that his rise from a former castoff player to a starting NBA guard warranted more recognition.
“In terms of Most Improved Player race … and I love Vic, I love Clint Capela … there’s no way I shouldn’t have won that,” Dinwiddie told Grady, via NetsDaily. “Vic had great years for four years, had one down year, then an even better year and they were like, ‘Aw man, look, he played bad for one year and then he played well.’ He didn’t just suddenly suck at OKC. The fit and everything didn’t work out for him.
“Clint Capela played very well but at the same time due to the dynamics of the team, he got a chance to come in and do his job. And he excelled at it. But he got to do his job. Whereas if you look at the story like I was cast aside. You know I was in the D-League. I came in, on Brooklyn, I wasn’t supposed to play last year either. They had JLin [Jeremy Lin] and DLo [D’Angelo Russell]. They both got hurt and obviously after that I had a nice run. The numbers were off the charts. You talk about advanced analytics and I was getting to the rim and creating points at an efficiency on par with James Harden.”
As the main option on offense in Indiana, Oladipo averaged 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc. The previous year with the Thunder, Oladipo posted 15.9 points per game.
In 80 games with the Nets last season, Dinwiddie averaged 12.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.6 assists. The 25-year-old shot 38.7 percent from the floor and 32.6 percent from the 3-point line. Dinwiddie only posted 7.3 points per game in 2016-17.
Dinwiddie has a fair point. Oladipo was a lottery pick and has always put up good numbers, while Dinwiddie was close to being out of the league when he was sent down to the D-League. Oladipo was an All-Star and guided the Pacers to the playoffs, though, and that clearly held a lot of weight with the voters.