When the Indiana Pacers traded Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, they were laughed at. However, during the 2017-18 NBA season, Oladipo and company shocked the basketball world by winning 48 games, the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference.
In the first round of the playoffs against the Cleveland Cavaliers, most did not give them a chance. While the Pacers were ultimately defeated in seven games, Oladipo is not satisfied after making his first All-Star appearance and pushing the defending Eastern Conference champions. According to Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports, the 25-year-old texted his trainer 16 minutes after the Game 7 loss to the Cavaliers:
You could say Victor Oladipo is thirsty for more.
— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) April 29, 2018
Originally the second overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, it has finally all come together for Oladipo in his fifth season after stints with the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder. In his first season with the Pacers, he averaged career-highs in six major categories and is considered the favorite to win the 2017-18 NBA Most Improved Player award.
After a successful Year 1 led by Oladipo, the Pacers enter the offseason in an intriguing situation. They are one of the few teams that will have ample cap space and should generate some interest. While Indiana is not known as a free agent destination, they have gained a lot of respect for what they accomplished.
Oladipo averaged 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in 75 appearances.