2017-18 Fantasy Basketball Profile: Victor Oladipo
After trade rumors surrounding other teams, the Indiana Pacers ultimately will send Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder for guard Victor Oladipo and forward Domantas Sabonis. It seems like a dismal return from Indiana’s end, but George removed any trade leverage they had when it came out publicly he would opt-out of his contract next summer.
George is obviously the headliner of the trade, but from a fantasy basketball perspective the impact may be greatest on Oladipo.
George and Jeff Teague, who will be gone in free agency, had the two highest usage rates among Pacers’ players who averaged at least 20 minutes per game last season (28.9 and 22.1, respectively). In terms of pure playing time, George and Teague were also the top two on the team in minutes per game. There’s a significant void to fill, and Oladipo is in line to fill a good portion of it.
In his lone season with the Thunder, Oladipo did not live up to heightened expectations playing alongside Russell Westbrook. He averaged a solid 15.9 points per game and made a career-best 36.1 percent of his three-point attempts, but his assist averaged dropped to 2.6 per game and his Player Efficiency Rating (PER) declined to a below-average 13.6.
Not surprisingly with Westbrook manning the point, Oladipo played 94 percent his minutes a shooting guard last season. There was already some expectation he would play more point guard next season from Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti, and that can absolutely come to fruition in Indiana. Over his last two seasons with the Orlando Magic (2014-15 and 2015-16), Oladipo played 71 and 78 percent of his minutes at shooting guard.
It’s hard to see Oladipo making a huge leap in his fifth NBA season. But going back to Indiana, where he played his college ball, he has a nice opportunity in front him. His 2015-16 numbers with Orlando (16.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game) look like a solid across the board baseline for 2017-18, coupled with a usage rate which is in line to surpass a career-high 25.2 percent from 2014-15. With position eligibility likely at both guard spots, Oladipo should give fantasy owners and good mix of flexibility and upside next year.