Victor Oladipo had a career night Sunday, but there’s still chatter intertwining him and Paul George, and he wants that to end.
In the midst of a 47-point explosion in front of a packed Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Victor Oladipo earned MVP chants, and it appears that the state of Indiana has fully-adopted him as their new darling.
Over the summer, the Indiana Pacers traded Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. On paper, it was a fleecing by Sam Presti. George continued to teeter on stardom while Russell Westbrook cast his shadow over the other two, reducing them to role players who had trouble contributing.
Since joining the Pacers, however, Oladipo has transformed. The once forgotten sidekick to the reigning MVP is well on his way to an All-Star appearance this season. As that trend continues, he no longer wants to be mentioned with George.
“I’m kind of getting sick and tired of the comparison with Paul George and myself,” said Oladipo to Clifton Brown of IndyStar. “He’s moved on. I moved on from the situation that I was in. Life takes its course, things happen. I’m happy here, he’s happy there. I wish him all the best. I’m feathery, right here as a Pacer. I don’t have no disrespect towards him, or what happened. I’m just grateful, and honored, to put on this jersey every night.”
Oladipo is having the best season of his young career, averaging 24.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.8 steals while maintaining a 23.5 PER and a true shooting percentage of 59.7. The Pacers, who were expected to have a rebuilding-type season, boast a 16-11 record, putting them fifth in the conference.
Paul George and the Pacers had tremendous success during their run, and it wasn’t too long ago that we saw Indiana as the only threat to LeBron James and the Miami Heat. It’s OK for Oladipo to wish for the rumblings to cease.
Despite the Thunder’s inconsistency (12-13 as of Monday), George is having a decent season. Sharing the ball with iso-heavy guys like Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony will cause a drop in some statistics, and he’s down to 20.7 points a night on 41.6 percent shooting. However, the splits show that Oklahoma City is better when George’s attempts don’t fall by the wayside.
The Thunder and Pacers have already met once this year. Oladipo scored 35 points on a blistering 11-of-18 shooting in his return to Oklahoma City. Indiana lost 114-96. Both teams met for the final time this coming Wednesday in Indianapolis.
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