Victor Oladipo might have won the Most Improved Player award this past season, but that doesn’t mean he’s done improving.
“I’m not satisfied by any means, so I got a lot of room for improvement,” said Oladipo to reporters at the Indiana Pacers practice facility today. “At the end of the day, that’s what I’m focused on doing: getting better.”
The Pacers All-Star and face of the franchise is confident in himself and his work ethic and the results that will come from his constant quest to raise his game.
“I’m going to take my game to the next level,” Oladipo told reporters. “I’m not going to (just) try.” He added, “I’ve got to go to another level every summer, because that’s what great players do.”
“I want to be great,” he also said. “I’ve been saying that since I walked into this facility. I want to be one of the greatest to ever play this game. Whatever I’ve got to do to do that, I’m going to try my hardest to achieve that in the process of winning. That’s the goal.”
Oladipo doesn’t only see great things in his future but also in his team’s. He praised the culture of the organization and talked about how that should be attractive to potential free agents.
“We created a different type of culture here,” Oladipo said. “I think that’s unique. I’ve never been part of a team like that, or an organization like that. I’m talking about it’s positive from the bottom up. That’s the culture, that’s what you want to be a part of.
“Yes, it’s work; yes, it’s our job. But before that, it was our love, the love of our life. We play basketball for fun, and you can’t lose that joy, no matter what. It’s not like that everywhere. Guys know that. If they want to come and be a part of something bigger than themselves, come to Indiana.”
Oladipo is the master of positivity and deserves a ton of credit for creating that culture.
“I think this is a good place for any great player in our league,” he said. “We have great players, great teammates, great coaches, great staff, great positive vibes. Why not come here?”
While Oladipo said he isn’t going to be actively recruiting and seeking out free agents, he’s open to having conversations with anyone if they’re interested.
“I ain’t texting nobody,” he said. “If they reach out to me then I’ll talk to them. If you don’t believe me how good it is here, come play for a year.” Oladipo continued, “I mean, Hey, I work out with a lot of guys, that’s all I’m saying. There’s a lot of guys coming in and out of there. I’ll have a chance to talk to a lot of guys. Who knows what happens?”
When TMZ Sports asked him about LeBron James and his free agency, Oladipo told him this would be his elevator pitch, “If you want to win, come to Indy.”
Oladipo does his offseason training in Miami and said he plans to bring teammates out for a week later in the summer to work on things together.
Oladipo has been impressed with his teammates’ efforts to improve as well, especially Myles Turner, who showed off his progress recently.
“Myles is investing in himself,” said Oladipo. “Don’t be surprised if he’s sitting here, receiving the same award next year.”
When asked if he felt like Turner got motivation from his efforts, he responded, “Myles motivated himself. He got motivation from himself and realized he wanted to invest in his mind and his body and take the time to go to another level this summer and that’s what he’s doing.”
Indiana appears lucky to have a star player in Oladipo that’s always striving to improve, even after winning an award for improving the most, and has had the city and state embrace him so quickly, as they approach the one-year anniversary of acquiring him via trade.
“I think I’m more hungry now than when I first got here. I’m just humbled to be part of this organization and this program. I’ve come a long way. Just amazing how things change in a year.”
And for Oladipo, the team is at the beginning of something great. He’s ready to see what they can become in the future.
“We’re just getting started,” he said. “I truly believe that when I say that. This year, we scratched the surface of how good we can really be.”
The challenge now for Kevin Pritchard is to provide a few pieces this offseason to ensure Oladipo’s optimistic views come true.