Victor Oladipo reacts to early struggles in return from devastating knee injury
Victor Oladipo has seen his share of struggles upon returning from a yearlong absence due to a devastating knee injury. The Indiana Pacers intended to attack his awaited return to the NBA in full gear, as he promised during an interview with Shams Charania of Stadium.
Yet the evidence on the court shows a more hesitant, through-the-motions Oladipo than he suggested in his interview prior to his season debut.
The shooting guard has put up nine, seven, nine, 13, 15, and 12 points in each of his first six games, shooting a ghastly 29.5% from the floor and 23.1% from deep — clearly still out of sorts as he adjusts to the NBA game once again.
“I missed a whole year of NBA basketball, not just basketball. It’s the highest level of basketball. It’s different,” Oladipo told ESPN’s Royce Young. “I’m not frustrated at all. Because I’ve been on the court and made all those shots that I’m shooting. I know I can make ’em.
“It’s just a matter of syncing my body and my mind.”
Furthermore, Oladipo still looks like he’s gaining his wind back after missing such a long stretch. His cohesion and activity level are not quite where they used to be, especially compared to his first season with the Pacers, when he racked up a league-leading 2.4 steals and 0.8 blocks from the shooting guard spot.
‘Dipo has the athletic gifts and the makings to be the next coming to Dwyane Wade, a force of nature defensively and one of the best defensive guards at his position when it comes to intangibles. Oladipo is averaging 0.2 blocks and 0.7 steals through the early stretch — a sign he still has a lot of basketball to play before he regains the confidence it takes to become the defensive demon he was in his heyday.