Indiana Pacers, The Whiteboard

The Whiteboard: Victor Oladipo is proving his stardom is real

Victor Oladipo is proving anyone who might’ve been doubting him wrong by proving he’s a legitimate NBA star.

Just over three months ago this very column stated that Victor Oladipo needed to prove he’s actually a star this season. Through his Indiana Pacers’ first 14 games, that’s exactly what Oladipo has done.

Indiana is currently 8-6 and sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, and the biggest reason for their success is Oladipo. He’s averaging 23.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Three of those averages rank first on the Pacers, and Oladipo is second on the team with his 7.1 rebounds each contest.

Counting stats rarely tell the whole story, and this is no exception. When the game is on the line, nobody in the NBA has done more work than Victor Oladipo. No player has scored more points in clutch situations than Oladipo, as per (Clutch situations are defined as when the game is within 5 points with five minutes or less left to go.)

The Pacers are 4-2 in games that come down to the wire, in large part because of their star shooting guard. Oladipo has scored 40 total points in the waning minutes of those six games, on an astonishing shooting line of 61.9 percent from the field, 58.3 percent from 3-point territory and 87.5 percent from the free throw line. Indiana has outscored opponents by 15 points in 25 minutes with Oladipo on the floor in those situations.

Oladipo’s bravado in the clutch might be even more important than his strong play throughout games. Late game heroics is the sort of stuff that builds legends and gives fanbases the hope of their team going on a real run. Stars are bigger than box scores; they’re players a franchise can pin their hopes on and fans can believe in. There’s no arguing that Victor Oladipo doesn’t fit that description.

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