Photo Credit: Yahoo
Last night every Pacers fan had a nightmare come true, Victor Oladipo injured. Midway through the second quarter with the Pacers leading the Raptors, showing once again they can contend in the East. Right as every Pacers fan was seeing the promise and hope, it all vanished. Oladipo ruptured his quad tendon in his left-knee which at best is a season-ending injury. This is a rare injury, and there are few blueprints in how to recover, fans of the Pacers now must hope Oladipo can return to his current state, but that will be a challenge.
Let’s say doctor Hupfer and the elite Pacers training staff does get Victor back to 100% with his explosiveness for next year, this injury will still likely play a big impact in the offseason. The Pacers had been looking at trades to better their roster for a run deep into the postseason, those can all go out the window now. The Pacers have been decent without Victor Oladipo. The supporting cast really stepped up earlier with Vic out, leading to a 7-4 record without Dipo. Bogey stepped up scoring over 20 per game, Collison and Evans both averaged close to three more points, Young also upped his averages on the glass and scoring. Most Pacers fans would be happy to see this, and in the short term, it means the team can likely keep a playoff spot, and maybe give a good fight in the first round. The issue is long term.
Photo Credit: NBA.com
This offseason Bogey, Collison, Evans, and Young all become free agents, their improved stats, and possibly able to play above .500 basketball is going to drastically raise their value to other teams. The Pacers potentially have money to sign some big free agents, but with uncertainty around Oladipo, the most attractive reason to come to Indy is in the air. The Pacers will struggle to sign a big player to a small market with little certainty about the other star. The Pacers will now turn to their own players, now all of their values will likely be higher, particularly Bogey who could get Middleton type money if he plays well. Now the Pacers won’t be able to add much to this core and will struggle to get better.
Pacers fans will be happy if we can get Oladipo back to his current level of play, but this injury has set the team back more than just this year. The Pacers will now have another challenge to improving this strong scrappy small market team. Earlier, I wrote about the Pacers #1 defense and top 5 ranking from behind the arc, a promising season has now disappeared, and Oladipo’s injury is a major setback for a state that desperately wants to get back to contending.