Related Tags: Victor Oladipo
Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo fell awkwardly, dislocating his knee cap in Wednesday's’ game against the Raptors. The Pacers went on to win the game against Toronto, but will be without their best player in Oladipo for likely the rest of this year, including the postseason.
Such an injury couldn’t have happened at a worse time for Indiana. The Pacers have a record of 32-15, and have went 7-3 in the last 10 games. With Oladipo, the Pacers had climbed up to third place in the eastern conference, and were in the midst of a overachieving season. The Pacers were outperforming both Boston and Philadelphia, enjoying a lead on both teams in the east standings.
Going forward without Oladipo will be tough. Oladipo was the Pacers leading scorer with 18.8 points a game. Scoring wasn’t all that Oladipo brought to the Pacers, as he was also averaging career bests in rebounds (5.6 per game) and assist (5.2 per game). Oladipo was also responsible for 1.8 steals a game, enough to rank him in the top 10 in the league in steals this season. Production like this is not simply replaced, and Indiana is bound to struggle without their leader.
The Pacers are in strong position in the East, and would like to maintain this position going into the playoffs, taking home court advantage for at least the first round. Don’t be surprised if Indiana is forced into making a trade before the deadline in attempts to recoup some productivity lost by Oladipo. Kevin Love and Mike Conley were names that were being linked to the Pacers prior to the Oladipo injury, so maybe action will heat up now that the Pacers are in this position.
If the Pacers do not enter the trade market, they will rely on their experienced bench to fill the void left by Oladipo. !0 year veteran Tyreke Evans is likely to replace Oladipo in the lineup. Evans is averaging 10.1 points per game this season. Pacers bench players Cory Joseph and Doug McDermott are set to receive additional playing time in the absence of Oladipo.
Indiana will play their first game without Victor Oladipo on Saturday, when the Pacers visit the fading Memphis Grizzlies.