Pacers

Oladipo’s Victim-Playing Appalling for Small-Market Indiana

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“Going through my career, it just feels like people keep quitting on me, but it’s a part of life and I embrace it.” — Victor Oladipo. Actually.

Part of being a successful NBA player is self-motivation. Competing at a world-class level at the dream job of millions is no doubt difficult.

A mental edge is crucial. For instance, Michael Jordan, whom I hesitate to mention in the same article as Vic, famously took things personally. Jordan, however, was not delusional and did not play the victim. Vic, please do not play the victim at the expense of a small-market organization that gave you every opportunity and benefit of the doubt.

Why Does This Matter?

Many casual fans might not be aware of the details of Oladipo’s tenure with the Indiana Pacers. Thus, his recent comments will likely fly under the radar or incorrectly be accepted as fact.

Indiana did not quit on Oladipo. If anything, he quit on Indiana.

Orlando and Oklahoma City may have quit on Vic – and quit is a strong term – but Indiana definitely did not. His disrespect to the Pacers organization is unwarranted and frankly despicable.

Here is another quality Oladipo quote: “Can I come to play with y’all?” This was to members of the Heat, Knicks and Raptors in the Orlando bubble, according to IndyStar’s J Michael. Despite this, Oladipo was later offered $100 million by Indiana. Who quit on whom?

https://twitter.com/Shake_N_Jake35/status/1350984419008520194

Contract Talks

Under his proposed extension, which he declined, Vic would have been the highest-paid player on the team. Several younger teammates outperformed him consistently for nearly a calendar year, though. Sure, Vic was returning from a serious injury and subsequent recovery, but such a rare injury only lowers his contract value. Such a decline in value is merely a reflection of risk; it is far from personal. Still, Indiana offered Vic $100 million to stay.

Post-Injury vs. Pre-Injury

Fresh off recovery, Vic shot under 40% from the field. Sure, it takes time to readjust. However, even in the season before his major injury, Vic was no world-beater.

In the 2018-19 season, Oladipo shot just 42% from the floor. An effective and efficient Oladipo has not been seen since the 2017-18 season. That campaign saw Oladipo break out in the regular season, then lead the charge against LeBron James‘ Cavaliers in the playoffs, taking them to seven games. 

Pre-injury, Oladipo was terrific on defense. He nabbed an NBA first-team all-defense award for 2017-18. That alone sadly does not usually fetch mega contracts unless one is a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Post-injury, he was better than average on defense. However, opposing players had a noticeably easier time getting past or through Vic. 

There is no denying Oladipo’s 2017-18 season was spectacular — regular season and playoffs — and may have warranted a max contract.

But this is 2021. Oladipo is older, with knee and quad injuries causing him to miss 109 regular-season games from 2018-2020. He allegedly asked other teams to play for them, in-game. He has underperformed for years, and Pacer fans stuck by Oladipo’s side.

After the Paul George fiasco, Pacer fans wanted to believe and support the trade pieces– especially with one having attended Indiana University (Vic). Yet after all this, Oladipo turned down a $100 million extension.

That is 100% his decision, but do not dare suggest Indiana quit on you. $100 million for an oft-injured, inefficient player looking elsewhere, is generous. And generous is an understatement. 

Closing Remarks

We can only hope that, despite being asked specifically about going from Indiana to Houston, that Vic was referring only to Orlando and Oklahoma City “quitting” on him. Indiana tried everything and then some for this situation to work. His victim-playing is appalling, misleading, and now comforting for Pacer fans, as he is no longer their headache.

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