Pacers’ Victor Oladipo admits being around Russell Westbrook last year helped him
While he’s emerged as one of the surprise players this year, having a breakout season so far, many are starting to believe that playing with Russell Westbrook prevented Victor Oladipo, currently with the Indiana Pacers, from being at his best a year ago with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
However, that is apparently not the case for him, and he made it known recently that he thinks Westbrook even made him a better overall player.
The 25-year-old Pacers guard talked about his experience of working and playing alongside the reigning MVP, which has done wonders for his game. Oladipo then added, via Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript, that witnessing the amount of work Westbrook has put in, makes him want to give it his all during games and practices as well.
Oladipo on Westbrook's influence & thoughts that he's playing well because he's away from Russ: "Going there and seeing him do that, just seeing his year overall last year definitely helped me realize that I gotta put in a lot of work to get on that level." pic.twitter.com/46FDabKsWb
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) December 13, 2017
Through 26 games, Oladipo is averaging career-high numbers of 24.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks for the Pacers, to go along with 4.0 assists in 34.0 minutes. He is an early candidate for the Most Improved Player Award, and more importantly, has led the Pacers to a 16-11 record, currently good for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
If he continues to play at the same level as the season progresses, Oladipo will further establish himself as a future star of the league, with the potential to become an All-Star and even possibly, an MVP candidate.
With the Pacers also in search of a franchise player, he could be just that for them and be a significant part of their plans for the coming years.