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NO DIPO, MORE PROBLEMS? Following the announcement yesterday about Victor Oladipo choosing to bypass returning to play this season out of concern about how his formerly injured quad might hold up, one could only wonder what that might mean for the rest of the Pacers’ campaign.
After all, Indiana played a good chunk of this season without Oladipo anyway, so it’s not like they’re unaccustomed to being without their All-Star 2-guard. But at the same time, players at the caliber of Oladipo at the shooting-guard position are extremely hard to come by, so his loss will still be felt in one way or another.
In the 13 games Oladipo played in 2019-20, the former Hoosier averaged 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists per contest on shaky 39.1/30.4/78.0 shooting splits. As he got his feet under him, the Pacers were actually outscored by 1.6 points per 100 possessions during his time on the floor this season. What’s more, in the 47 games prior to his return, Indiana ranked 12th league-wide in net rating at +2.9, going 30-17 in the process; in the 18 games since his return, that number fell to -0.4 and their record was a mediocre 9-9.
So it’s clear the Pacers fell off a bit once Oladipo came back into the rotation, but their slight drop-off can’t all be attributed to his return. Jeremy Lamb going down with a season-ending ACL injury for the team’s final eight games before the suspension of play certainly did not help matters either, especially when you factor in the solid campaign he was having for Indiana.
Overall, it’s likely the Pacers’ floor didn’t drop off much with the news that Oladipo wouldn’t return in 2019-20, but their ceiling probably won’t be as high as it would have been with him in their starting lineup. Not many teams have guys who can step up and do this when they badly need a bucket late in a game, after all.
FOURNIER FREE AGENCY: Although he could be one of this summer’s top free agents, Evan Fournier isn’t sweating things out since he has a player option on his contract for next year.
If he doesn’t opt to hit free agency, Fournier projects to be the 63rd highest-paid player in the NBA next season.
MENDED FENCES: Both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert admit their relationship isn’t perfect, but nonetheless, they’ve both moved past their coronavirus-related rift and will be professionals going forward.
FOX EXTENSION TALKS: The Kings have already had extension talks with their top young player, De’Aaron Fox. If it weren’t for the pandemic, there’s a good chance Fox could have landed himself a deal worth near the max. It’ll be interesting to see what number they agree on.
VETERAN RETURNS: The Rockets are planning to sign Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, a veteran swingman with 3-and-D upside.
JOKER HEALTH UPDATE: Nuggets head coach Mike Malone says Nikola Jokic is feeling ‘great’ following his coronavirus diagnosis, and the team hopes to have him on board the plane as Denver heads to Orlando.
A LOT ON THE LINE: We break down the impending free agents who have the most to lose in the Orlando season restart.
GAINS AND LOSSES: Here’s what we think the Lakers gain and lose by replacing Avery Bradley with JR Smith.
FUN RECORD: Did you know Vince Carter is the player with the most teammates in league history? Now you know that.
FRESH Q+A: We recently talked to Raymond Felton, who says he’s willing to continue his playing career anywhere, even overseas if he has to.
RELIVING THE DECISION: On the 10-year anniversary of LeBron James’ infamous decision, we have started a series where we break down what happened on each day of 2010 free agency leading up to the huge announcement. So far, we’re through Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.