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New Faces from Old Places: Victor Oladipo

We talk about what Victor Oladipo can bring to the Rockets with Mark Schindler from Indy Cornrows.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

After yesterday’s four-team blockbuster deal, the Rockets said goodbye to James Harden and hello to Victor Oladipo, who now joins his fifth NBA team since 2016.

Oladipo enjoyed most of his NBA success in his last 3+ seasons with the Pacers, where he was named an All-Star twice, but also suffered a horrific quadriceps injury that has limited him in the past few seasons.

I reached out to Mark Schindler (@MSchindlerNBA), a contributor and podcaster at Indy Cornrows, our sister site, to talk more about Oladipo and what we can expect from him in Houston.

Jeremy Brener, The Dream Shake: How surprised were you to see that the Pacers joined in on the James Harden trade?

Mark Schindler, Indy Cornrows: I was extremely surprised. I was laying down for a nap when my phone started going off and I was doing a podcast 25 minutes later.

JB: What can Rockets fans expect from Victor Oladipo?

MS: That’s a tough question that sort of conglomerates with the next question. I frankly am not sure. The last 8 games of Victor have been extremely promising and he’s made strides in showing that burst and athleticism that helped him become an All-NBA player. He’s not all the way back physically but he’s the closest he’s been since 17/18. That being said, his injury history can’t be understated. He may never play a back to back again going off of past injuries that are comparable. Regardless, Vic never mails in a game. He’s a class act on and off court.

JB: How much should Vic’s ruptured quad injury concern the Rockets?

MS: I’d say moderately concerned. Every time he steps or falls awkwardly you kind of hold your breath. I was watching the game he got injured live in 2019 and it was gut wrenching. I’m not sure what level Victor will be able to consistently play at, but I hope for him that it’s high. He’s been at probably 85-90% of his 17/18 form to start the year.

JB: What is the biggest misconception about Oladipo?

MS: That he’s a lockdown defender. That’s not at all to besmirch him. He was a deserving All-NBA defender. However, he makes his mark as an off-ball roamer. He’s great playing passing lanes, as a help man, and rotating as the low man. He’s near the top of the league in charges drawn this year. He can certainly put the clamps on opposing defenders, but that’s not really his defensive archetype.

JB: What is your prediction for Oladipo for the rest of the season?

MS: My prediction for the remainder of the season is that Victor and John Wall will likely have growing pains considering that both are more on-ball than off-ball players. But, John Wall will be the best playmaker Vic has ever played with by a healthy margin. Before T.J. Warren’s injury, Vic was really adapting to an off-ball role. From what I’ve seen and know, Stephen Silas is a good coach with a great offensive mind. I think he’ll put Vic in a great situation to optimize himself and his teammates. Not really a defined answer, but he’ll make Houston ether on both ends in my opinion. He’s not James Harden, no one is, but he brings positives on both ends.