Oladipo talks up Pacers’ chances next season
It feels like a case of unfinished business for Victor Oladipo. His Indiana Pacers side were flying in the Eastern Conference last season, until a big injury curtailed his season near the start of 2019. They did not have enough in reserve to do anything more than stay afloat, and were quickly humbled when they reached the postseason.
Having looked like they could stay high up in the East, they then finished fifth and were whitewashed by the Boston Celtics in their first-round game. Oladipo, who had to watch it from the sidelines, knows what else might have been if they had their best player out on the court. He is getting closer to a return, and this is good news for the Pacers, who have added some solid additions over the offseason.
The biggest name they brought in was Malcolm Brogdon, whose switch from the Milwaukee Bucks may have gone somewhat under the radar with so many superstar players switching allegiances over the summer. It will also be a blow for the Milwaukee Bucks, who held everything together right until they came up against the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Final, when they lacked something extra to carry them through.
Brogdon was one of the central figures for the Bucks, and it seems a bit of a coup that the Pacers could attract him away from the team that managed a record number of wins last year. However, with a chance to play a bigger role at Indiana, especially while Oladipo recovers, it offers the opportunity for the side to have someone else to build around while their star man is absent.
Oladipo recently told reporters that he believes that his side will “definitely” make the playoffs next year, and that they are on the cusp of having a “really special” team in place.
Saying that “I feel like the league is wide open”, Oladipo’s comments add to the growing idea that although there are clearly some sports betting favourites, the NBA is more open than ever thanks to many big names all moving during a chaotic free agency period.
A number of players were moved on from the Pacers squad, freeing up room for some fresh faces to come in. With the expectation that Oladipo will be returning around the start of 2020, it is essential for them to get off to a good start.
Words: Josh Dixon