Oladipo Brings Breath of Fresh Air to Houston


It’s time for the Houston Rockets to put the James Harden saga in the rearview and kickstart an unfamiliar, new era.

The Harden trade rumors cast a looming shadow over the Rockets organization ever since they developed in the offseason. Now that the deal is done, both the team and fans can let out a massive sigh of relief.

Houston acquired Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo, who now joins the likes of John Wall and Christian Wood in the starting lineup. Now the question is, what can he bring to said lineup?

Scoring Threat

The departure of a superstar will always leave a gap to be filled within the team. With Harden gone, the Rockets are no exception. Plus, a roster that already needed help putting the ball in the basket outside of Wall and Wood definitely needs someone to step up.

Insert Oladipo. In his nine games with the Pacers this season, he averaged 20.0 points per game. This is the closest he’s come to his All-Star season in 2017-18 when he averaged 23.1/game. Oladipo’s three-point scoring is one resurging strength, jumping out to 36.2 percent pre-trade, his second-highest mark since that All-Star campaign.

In his first game with Houston on January 18th, Oladipo dropped 32 points (13/23 FG, 4/9 3PT, 2/4 FT), five rebounds, nine assists and two steals. That 32-point outing was the second-most points scored in a player’s Rockets debut, so Vic is already making his way into the franchise’s record books.

Being the explosive athlete and extreme competitor that Oladipo is, there should be no doubt about his desire to contribute on the court. Despite his slow return to form after a devastating knee injury in January 2019, one of the biggest strengths Oladipo possesses is his ability to score at all costs. He proved that he possessed the “clutch gene” in Indiana, something Houston desperately needs.

Defensive Clamps

Oladipo will slide in the Rockets’ backcourt alongside Wall like a glove. Not only do both guards have explosive scoring ability, but Dipo is also regarded as one of the better on-ball defensive guards in the league. He thrives on being completely aware on the court and using his hustle ability to remain a consistent defensive presence. He is also putting up his highest steals average since his all-star season at 1.8 per game, further proving he is reverting back to full form.

Oladipo still remains one of the most energetic perimeter defenders, too. He utilizes his lateral quickness to stick with his man as a defender and navigate through screens effectively. That effort provided on defense usually is contagious, similar to what we witnessed with The Beard’s shocking defense in the NBA Bubble. Oladipo’s skills will provide the Rockets a needed boost on the defensive end of the ball after giving up a career game to C.J. McCollum and allowing Luka Doncic to break out of his shooting slump earlier this season.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Lastly, the team can sit back and take a breath. Oladipo represents a big weight off the organization’s head. While he may not be the long-term answer, he represents a healthy environment. Now veterans like John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins can fully attain the leadership roles on the roster. With a strong starting unit led by Wall, Wood and Oladipo, the goal is now set for the season and it finally feels like the Houston Rockets are ready to move forward.

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About Mark Camarena

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