Outside of watching Jalen Green score 14 of his 20 points in the first quarter, there wasn’t much for coach Stephen Silas to be happy about Monday night. The shorthanded Houston Rockets fell to 16-49 on the season, after a 123-106 defeat to the Miami Heat inside the FTZ Arena.
But other than watching Green notch 20 or more points in four of his previous five games. The return of Victor Oladipo was a pleasing sight for Silas.
Oladipo, a two-time NBA All-Star with the Indiana Pacers, was no longer suiting up for the lowly Rockets. But Silas found joy in watching his former player return to the court after nearly missing an entire year due to a right quadriceps injury.
During his season debut against the Rockets, Oladipo scored 11 points while shooting 57.1 percent from the field.
“For Victor, this is great for him. After everything, he has been through. The injuries that seemed to be one after another, I’ll be happy to see him on the floor personally. But professionally, it will not be great.” — Silas
Oladipo and Silas developed a tight relationship during his short tenure in Houston. Despite Oladipo’s departure at the trade deadline in 2021 after he rejected a $45.2 million contract extension from Houston — he and Silas kept their relationship alive.
When Oladipo sustained the second quadriceps injury of his career against the Los Angeles Lakers last April, Silas called his former shooting guard to wish him well.
Oladipo’s time with the Rockets did not result in many wins. But Silas grew an appreciation for Oladipo due to his competitiveness, will to get better, and perseverance. It’s the three intangibles that made coaching Oladipo an enjoyable experience for Silas.
“I am still getting stronger, and I am still getting better. I am excited. And I am looking forward to the year. It’s not always going to be perfect — but that’s okay. My mentality will remain the same. I’ve been resilient all my life. And I am not going to stop now.” — Oladipo
Oladipo played 20 games with the Rockets. Houston acquired the two-guard on Jan. 16 in a three-team trade that sent James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets.
As part of the W.O.W. Factor (John Wall, Oladipo and Christian Wood) that once led the Rockets on a six-game winning streak, Oladipo averaged 21.0 points on 40.7 percent shooting from the field.