Tag Archives: Victor Oladipo

It’s official: Victor Oladipo will participate in the dunk contest

The Indiana Pacers confirmed the rumors tonight: Victor Oladipo will participate in the NBA’s Dunk Contest during All-Star weekend.

Oladipo, the first-time All Star, will defend the Pacers reigning dunk title as Glenn Robinson III will be unable to do so himself as he continues to make strides in his rehab from ankle surgery.

The other participants will be Aaron Gordon, Dennis Smith Jr. and Larry Nance Jr.

Oladipo has been in a dunk contest before when he did a 540 and finished in second.

All-Star weekend will be a “field trip” for Oladipo and Sabonis

The Indiana Pacers will be well represented in the NBA All-Star weekend events this year as Victor Oladipo was selected as an Eastern Conference representative and Domantas Sabonis was chosen to play in the Rising Stars Challenge as a member of Team World.

“It’s just like when your brother is going with you on a school field trip or something,” Oladipo said of having his teammate with him. “I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it.”

Continue reading All-Star weekend will be a “field trip” for Oladipo and Sabonis

With Kemba Walker available, should the Pacers make a deal?

Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker has been made available in trades according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Hornets would be looking to unload one of their bad contracts (they have a lot of them) in any potential deal that included Walker, who is averaging 21.7 points and 5.8 assists, according to Wojnarowski.

Any time an All-Star caliber player (Walker was selected as an All Star last season), every team, including the Indiana Pacers, has to consider whether or not they should pursue that player. Kevin Pritchard and company will have to do their due diligence and weigh the pros and the cons of any possible Walker deal.

Continue reading With Kemba Walker available, should the Pacers make a deal?

Victor Oladipo is everything the Indiana Pacers could have possibly hoped he’d be and more

You might be surprised at Victor Oladipo’s performance this year, but he isn’t.

He expected to be this good.

“Y’all might be surprised,” Oladipo told reporters after his 47-point night against the Denver Nuggets earlier this season. “I put in the work. I work every day. I have no limit to how hard I work. I’m trying to be great. There’s no in-between and I can’t settle for anything less.”

He did try to warn us.

Continue reading Victor Oladipo is everything the Indiana Pacers could have possibly hoped he’d be and more

The Indiana Pacers can’t stop making comebacks

The Indiana Pacers were down 34-12 at the end of the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

We all should have known at this point what would happen next.

The Pacers came back to defeat LeBron James and the Cavaliers behind a spark from Bankers Life Fieldhouse’s own court jester, Lance Stephenson, and yet another big shot from Victor Oladipo.

Continue reading The Indiana Pacers can’t stop making comebacks

An iPacers Tale: King Victor Returns

Disclaimer: None of what you are about to read is real. The quotes are imagined. The scenes are fiction. The characters are real(ish). Welcome to an iPacers tale.

If you missed the first episode:

FADE IN:

THREE DAYS EARLIER
INT: LOCKERS OF VISITORS IN THE REALM OF DEER AKA BMO HARRIS BRADLEY CENTER

The Pacers of the Round Ball have just lost their fifth straight game by a final score of 122-101 to the Bucks of Milwaukee. The Pacers sit dejected and in silence, pondering how to fix all that’s gone wrong. King Victor has been gone for a fortnight while tending to a wounded knee and the team has suffered many defeats in his absence.

SIR NATE MCMILLAN, THE KING’S HAND: 
We have fallen yet again. What more can be said? We don’t know how to defend our goal, how to attack their basket. We have forgotten who we are.

Continue reading An iPacers Tale: King Victor Returns

A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity: The Anecdotes of Effort

For A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity, I will bring a short column that highlights something about this team that gives me hope. The season is long. We need to focus on the positives whether in the midst of a winning streak or the depths of a rough patch. This week, I wanted to think about work.

The Pacers are losing, and in this losing streak, I wanted to refocus on a collective team trait that gives me hope: work ethic. Warning: In the few words below, you will not find statistics. Instead, you will see what I think about when first quarter deficits grow, the team is lost on both ends of the floor, and I learn a certain player’s knee is still sore.

Four anecdotes from this season that give me hope:

Continue reading A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity: The Anecdotes of Effort

Victor Oladipo currently 3rd in All-Star voting for Eastern Conference guards

The NBA announced the current standings of the All-Star fan voting and Indiana Pacers star shooting guard is currently in third for his position.

Oladipo trails DeMar DeRozan by less than 8,000 votes.

There are many different ways to vote including on social media sites using #NBAVote or using the NBA app or website. Voting ends on January 15th.

Kevin Pritchard has been the gift that keeps on giving

It’s early in Kevin Pritchard’s tenure as the President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers, but things couldn’t have gone much better over his first seven months considering the hand he was dealt shortly after he took over for Larry Bird.

In the summer, it didn’t look like it was going well to most outside the Pacers organization.

Originally, Pritchard’s plan was to build around Paul George and create a contender that would entice George to remain in Indiana. George seemed willing to let Pritchard try until about a week before the draft and the beginning of the off-season when he had a change of heart and told the Pacers organization that he would not re-sign with the team.

“We had multiple conversations, we talked about players we wanted to add to this team, and it felt like we were in agreement on that,” Pritchard said after the draft. “Not that a player dictates that, but I wanted him to (give) some feedback. We had conversations about players and how we want to go forward. So, for me it was a shock.”

One week before the off-season and all of the Pacers plans were for naught. That gut punch made for a unenviable scenario for Indiana as they quickly turned their focus to creating a completely new plan.

“It couldn’t have come at a worse time for me,” Pritchard said after the draft. “Had we known this a while ago we could have been more prepared. And then the way it got out… we struggled with that.”

Pritchard was unable to find a deal to his liking during the draft and preached patience on waiting for the right deal to materialize even as George’s agent was making it clear to all potential teams that he wanted to be in Los Angeles. Pritchard found the deal he was looking for with Oklahoma City Thunder, but no one seemed to agree that he made the right call.

The return for Paul George of Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, and no draft picks was laughed at and mocked without mercy by nearly all from police departments, fans, mediaeven other teams. (Myself included in the puzzled-over-Pritchard’s-decision camp to choose this deal and not one that included Gary Harris from Denver in a 3-team deal with Cleveland or waiting for Boston to know whether they would sign Gordon Hayward and trying to snag that juicy Nets pick that would only be in the late lottery if the season ended today.)

No one is laughing now. Except the Pacers.

Pritchard has put together a team that plays hard every night, is more fun than ever and has chemistry that usually takes teams years of playing together to develop.

“My teammates are phenomenal people,” said Oladipo. “When you surround yourself with people that care about you, chemistry comes natural. It’s a special locker room.”

None have been more important to this team transformation than Victor Oladipo, who leads by example, cares for his teammates immensely, and has hit big shot after big shot in the clutch for the Pacers so far this season.

It’s likely that Oladipo makes an All-Star team this season, while George probably does not. Not many would have predicted that when the trade was announced this summer.

“He should be an All-Star starter,” Darren Collison said after a recent practice. “I think he deserves it. Since day one, he’s been the leader that we’ve asked him to be.”

And Sabonis has been a big part of the Pacers emerging chemistry as the guy that seemingly everyone loves to play with.

But the deal that netted the Pacers two key pieces for their bright future is only one move that Pritchard made this off-season. He’s looked to have hit on just about every transaction to this point including signing Darren Collison and Bojan Bogdanovic and trading for Cory Joseph.

In total five of the eight players that play the most minutes for the Pacers were added by Pritchard this off-season and another (Thaddeus Young) was widely looked at as someone they should have looked to trade away after the George news instead of keep around.

Instead of being a lottery-bound league bottom feeder that many expected coming into the season, the Pacers sit at 19-14, good for 4th in the Eastern Conference, and have been a much improved team from last year’s version.

The Pacers looked for players that had the following traits in the George deal and seemed to have carried that over into their free agency moves as well: motivated, toughness, hardworking, togetherness, unselfishness, intelligence, athleticism and chemistry.

““It’s chemistry,” said Lance Stephenson after the Nuggets game, “sticking together and believing in one another. We’re bringing it every night. … There’s no hate. You know what I mean? Some guys get mad about somebody doing good. This team wants their teammates to do good. I feel like that makes this team even better.”

Resilient is another word that should have been added to the list as the Pacers come from behind seemingly every game, especially at home.

The only question so far for Pritchard is how his draft picks of TJ Leaf and Ike Anibogu will turn out, but neither player is even 20 years old yet and it’s too early to jump to any conclusions about them this early in their careers.

“We know that he can score the ball,” McMillan said about Leaf after practice. “We want to see him defend and continue to work on, certainly scoring, but really his first year is about just playing. There’s no pressure, no expectations, other than getting out there to play.”

A big difference between Bird and Pritchard’s style in recent off-seasons is the lack of long-term deals that Pritchard handed out.

Both guys spent most of the cap space that they had available nearly every year, but Bird’s long-term bets in consecutive years on the likes of Rodney Stuckey, Monta Ellis, Al Jefferson not only didn’t work out in the immediate sense but gave the Pacers less wiggle room in following off-seasons to improve the roster.

The Pacers will now still be paying Monta Ellis, who was waived in the off-season using the stretch provision, when the NBA All-Star game makes it long-awaited return to Indianapolis in 2021, and neither Ellis or Stuckey have even found a team willing to sign them at all since they were waived by the Pacers. They aren’t the only players from the 2016-17 roster that are now out of the NBA: Lavoy Allen, Kevin Seraphin, Rakeem Christmas, and Georges Niang.

Pritchard, however, kept the team’s future cap space open while going after overlooked veterans that would take short-term deals with partial guarantees in the final year of the contract.

Collison and Bogdanovic both are making about $10 million this season and at this point look likely to complete their 2-year deals next season with the team, but if they didn’t pan out Indiana could have cut the cord with little cost to their salary cap for next season as the second years had a very small portion of guaranteed money. These contracts also could be used as potential trade sweeteners for teams looking to shed salary to make room in FA for a max contract slot.

Right now, it doesn’t seem like these fail-safe options will be necessary, but Pritchard put the organization in good position either way.

The challenge will eventually become what to do with many of the team’s current players as their contracts end either this summer or the next, including Joseph, Collison, Bogdanovic, Young and Glenn Robinson III, but so far Pritchard has been the gift that keeps on giving for the Indiana Pacers.

These Indiana Pacers never quit

You’ve heard this story before.

The Indiana Pacers start off the game slow, let the opposing team get a lead around 20 points. Then, suddenly, usually sparked by something mildly insane that Lance Stephenson did or a pull-up 3-pointer by Victor Oladipo, the Pacers look like a different team and go on a huge run. The atmosphere is intense. The Banker’s Life Fieldhouse crowd is going crazy. They end up winning by late heroics from Oladipo as he points down to the court, letting everyone know, “This is My City. This is Our House.”

Tonight, the comeback came against the Brooklyn Nets as the Pacers improved to 19-14 on the season and 3-0 against the Nets as they sit in 4th in the Eastern Conference.

Per Pat Boylan, the Pacers have been down by double digits in six of their last seven home games and by at least 16 points in five of those seven home games. Despite this, the Pacers won four of the seven and had a chance in the fourth quarter at winning every one of them.

Continue reading These Indiana Pacers never quit

An iPacers Tale: King Victor shows mercy to the Croatian Mercenary

Disclaimer: None of what you are about to read is real. The quotes are imagined. The scene is fiction. In these dark times after an inexplicable ending resulted in a loss, may this be an escape. Welcome to an iPacers tale.

FADE IN:

INT: THE HOUSE OF BANKERS IN THE PACERS REALM OF LOCKERS

King Victor and The Pacers of the Round Ball gather to discuss the ending of a sudden loss to the Celtics, 112-111, where an errant, foolish pass nearly touched the heavens as the game’s clock wound down and the Celtics of Boston stole the game away.

SIR NATE MCMILLAN, THE KING’S HAND: 
We gather here in the city of King Victor of Oladipo, the Pace of Pacedom, the Twice-Traded Now Redeemed, The Future All-Star, The Ruler of the House of Bankers. There are some obvious discussion topics tonight.

Continue reading An iPacers Tale: King Victor shows mercy to the Croatian Mercenary

Tales from the Block: The Return of Paul George

Tales from the Block: Welcome to Turners Block. In this column, I’ll try to bring a look at the games from inside the craziest, loudest bunch of fans in Banker’s Life Fieldhouse along with the Born Ready Crew. Pardon my absence these last few weeks. I was saving up for this game.

Admit it. When you looked at the schedule to start the season, the first game you looked for was that OKC game against Paul George (who for the rest of this article be referred to as Agent 13). Thankfully it was early in the season.

Continue reading Tales from the Block: The Return of Paul George

The Indiana Pacers no-point lineup key to comeback victory

With 3:51 remaining in the game, the Indiana Pacers were down by eight points as Nate McMillan called timeout and went to a lineup that had played only a single minute together all season: Victor Oladipo, Lance Stephenson, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young and Myles Turner.

“Nate called a timeout,” said Oladipo, who was named  Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season, “and all I said was, ‘There’s a lot of time left. We just gotta take it one possession at a time,’ and we did a great job.”

Almost no previous time together. No point guard. No problem. Oladipo took care of the offense to the tune of 47 points and the defense took care of the rest down the stretch.

Continue reading The Indiana Pacers no-point lineup key to comeback victory

Victor Oladipo defends his city with 47 points in comeback victory

INDIANAPOLIS–Behind Victor Oladipo’s career-high 47 points, the Indiana Pacers made yet another comeback victory against the Denver Nuggets to win in overtime by a final score of 126-116.

The Pacers started the game down 18-6. The Nuggets pushed that lead to 19 with 6:13 remaining in the first half.

It didn’t matter. The Pacers fought back and led at the end of the third quarter 90-88.

The Nuggets led by eight points with just 2:54 left.

It didn’t matter. Oladipo took over the rest of the way, taking advantage of the Nuggets switching defense to get whatever match-up he wanted.

“I was just trying to make the right play down the stretch. There were still some plays where I felt that I could have done a better job. I missed some layups, I missed some threes, missed two free throws, so there’s obviously room to improve. So I just gotta continue to keep getting better and take it one day at a time.”

Putting Oladipo’s humility aside, he was incredible down the stretch as he brought the Pacers back. Starting from 2:39 here’s what Oladipo did possession by possession to get the Pacers into overtime:

2:39: 12-foot pull up. Pacers down six.

1:32: Driving layup. Pacers down four.

0:55.1: Driving layup. Pacers down two.

0:26.6: Missed pull up 3-pointer (almost identical to the shot he hit against the Chicago Bulls), but Pacers ball out of bounds as Thaddeus Young fights for the offensive rebound.

0:5.9: Missed layup on a no-call, but draws the help defender as Young is in the right place at the right time to tip in it with ease to send the game into overtime.

“I just basically fed off of Victor’s play,” said Young, who added 18 points on efficient 8-of-11 shooting. “He drove to the basket, got guys to bite and commit and I was just basically in position to get the rebound.”

In the final three minutes plus overtime, Oladipo scored 14 of the Pacers final 22 points to lead the Pacers to their fourth consecutive home victory in this 6-game homestand.

“This is what we were hoping to develop,” said Nate McMillan of Oladio. “This type of player that in the future will be a franchise player.”

None of Oladipo’s heroics would have mattered without superb defense down the stretch that held the Nuggets scoreless for nearly eight minutes from the end of regulation through overtime. The Pacers ended the game on a 21-2 run.

“We started to get back to Pacers basketball,” said Young, “which is pressuring up and getting into guys … On the defensive end, we were aggressive and forcing a lot of pressure.”

“We held them to two points in overtime,” said Oladipo, who also added seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block. “That’s why we won the game.”

The legend of Oladipo continues to grow at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse as the player that two teams gave up on has found his home in Indianapolis.

“Opportunity. The players in this locker room,” Oladipo said when asked what the difference has been for him in Indiana compared to other places. “They’re phenomenal obviously. Playing with these guys make things so much easier for me. … It’s amazing how guys in this locker room lift each other up. It’s amazing what the guys in this locker room are capable of. Like I said before, it’s an honor and a blessing to be able to play with these guys night in and night out.”

The Pacers chemistry is a sight to behold, and it all starts with their leader.

“He’s such a pleasure to work with,” said McMillan, “… The kid just brings such a positive attitude to the locker room and to the game. He’s playing with a great deal of confidence and with people like that good things are going to happen to them. He’s going about this the right way, comes in works on his game and he is all about the team.”

The Pacers have now won 10 of their last 13 games to get to a record of 16-11.

“It’s chemistry,” said Lance Stephenson, who sparked the Pacers run in the second quarter after they were down 19, “Sticking together and believing in one another. We’re bringing it every night. … There’s no hate. You know what I mean? Some guys get mad about somebody doing good. This team wants their teammates to do good. I feel like that makes this team even better.”

The Pacers run in the second quarter was sparked by the Pacers everlasting energy of Stephenson, who scored or assisted on six straight Pacers possessions. Indiana scored on 10 of their last 12 possessions of the first half to cut the Nuggets lead to seven at halftime.

Myles Turner quietly put up 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. He took advantage of small guys in the post as the Nuggets switched nearly every pick and roll. He capped off the night with a Dirk Nowitzki one-leg fadeaway impression that Oladipo says Myles works on “all the time.”

Oladipo’s 47 points is tied for the 5th-highest scoring game in Pacers franchise history. Four points higher than the career high of Paul George, but Oladipo is tired of all the George talk.

“I’m kind of getting sick and tired of the comparisons of Paul George and myself,” said Oladipo after the game. “He moved on. I moved on … I wish him all the best. I’m feathery right here as a Pacer. … I’m just grateful and honored to put on that jersey every night to play in front of those fans.”

The crowd was loving every minute of Oladipo’s performance, showering him with MVP chants late in the game.

“It was incredible,” Oladipo said of the atmosphere of the game. “Amazing. These fans are incredible. It’s like I never left.”

The Pacers next game is against the man who left in George and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

This article was originally posted on IndySportsLegends.com

The Indiana Pacers chemistry is natural, but not accidental

Kevin Pritchard seems to have created something special in Indiana.

Perhaps not in terms of an abundance of talent on this Pacers team, but in a creation of chemistry that most teams can only dream about having after a few years growing together with little roster turnover. But this team brought in nine new players in a single off-season.

“This is the best locker room that I’ve ever been in,” said Myles Turner.  Continue reading The Indiana Pacers chemistry is natural, but not accidental

Behind Victor Oladipo, the Indiana Pacers have the will to win

The Indiana Pacers had no business winning this game.

In the first half, the Pacers were outscored 55-39 and couldn’t buy a stop for much of the second half as the Chicago Bulls (3-19) shot 62% in the third quarter.

The Pacers came out “lackadaiscal” to begin the game according to Myles Turner.  Continue reading Behind Victor Oladipo, the Indiana Pacers have the will to win

The Indiana Pacers have never been more fun

The Indiana Pacers (12-9) have had better teams in the past but they’ve never been more fun than this.

Just watch this video. Feel the joy. Buy a home or rent an Airbnb in this lovely neighborhood.

Indiana’s never had more enjoyment from watching the Pacers than with this underdog group of running, gunning, have fun-ing bunch. Almost every game at the Fieldhouse turns into a house party.

The fun all starts with Lance Stephenson, who has averaged over 17 points per game in his last three and has added five assists and eight rebounds in consecutive games.

Stephenson is the Pacers prodigal son, who languishes outside of Indiana when he’s not wearing the blue and gold and thrives in Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. He dances and inspires dances. He prances. He plays air guitar. He high-fives the crowd. He head-butts stanchions.

“Coach is doing a good job of letting me play through mistakes,” Stephenson said after tonight’s party of a win against the Orlando Magic. “He lets me be me.”

The Pacers fans wouldn’t have it any other way. Everything that Lance does elicits a louder reaction than if someone else would have done the same. So when he does something special as has been the case often lately, it feels like the roof may collapse.

But the Pacers are this fun for more than just Lance reasons.

Victor Oladipo made his first 11 shots tonight, which included maybe five heat checks that all went in. It got to the point where even he didn’t know what was happening after banking in a 3-pointer.

Domantas Sabonis continues to be gift from the basketball gods, (mostly the god of European big men Arydvas Sabonis). He scored 19 points while taking just seven shots, added eight rebounds and five assists. That crazy play by Lance wouldn’t have been possible without his expert cut at just the right time.

“I don’t know. It just happens,” Domas said of his on-court play with Lance, “… He understands me. It’s just chemistry.”

The Pacers other stud young big man, Myles Turner, was no slouch tonight either as he scored 18 points in the first three quarters, being unleashed from long range with five attempts and three makes. He nearly had four made 3-pointers but his toes were on the line on one attempt.

“The thing I love about this team is that we never stop competing,” Turner said.

Every game is non-stop effort from the Pacers. They may lose some games, but as Turner said, they’re always competing. Whether they’re down 22 in the third quarter or having just lost a lead at the start of the fourth quarter like tonight.

The Magic were up one briefly in the fourth quarter. Then the Pacers went on a 23-5 run.

The Pacers aren’t just a one-man show these days. Anybody is capable of a huge night to lift the team, Bojan Bogdanovic continues to show a more all-around offensive game than many expected, Thad Young is the glue guy, Darren Collison is capable of occasional 30-point nights. They play together and as a unit. They care about each other off the court.

These Pacers are modern. These Pacers are always looking to run. These Pacers love to play together. The Pacers have never been more fun.

A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity #5: Chemistry is Cooking

For A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity, I will bring a short column that highlights something about this team that gives me hope. The season is long. We need to focus on the positives whether in the midst of a winning streak or the depths of a rough patch. And in this stretch of big (like, HUGE) wins, I thought it best to focus on something that is all too rare in the NBA: noticeable chemistry.

Continue reading A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity #5: Chemistry is Cooking

Stray Pacervations: Odds and Ends of the Indiana Pacers winning streak

Stray Pacervations is intended to shed light on the odds and ends, the small things and possible trends that happen during Indiana Pacers games. Some good. Some bad. Some neither.

The Pacers have won four games in a row, four road games in a row, five out of six overall, and just won all three games in a 4-night stretch. It’s been fun. Let’s dive right in.  Continue reading Stray Pacervations: Odds and Ends of the Indiana Pacers winning streak

Myles Turner gets a confidence boost from a late-night visit from Victor Oladipo

Myles Turner struggled to make shots against the Detroit Pistons on Friday and didn’t play down the stretch as the Indiana Pacers went on a 51-22 run to come from behind and win.

“I didn’t have such a great game last game,” said Turner, who finished with just seven points on 3-of-13 shooting against the Pistons, after tonight’s game. “It’s all about bouncing back. This was a statement game for me.”  Continue reading Myles Turner gets a confidence boost from a late-night visit from Victor Oladipo