Victor Oladipo Still Motivated By Paul George Trade Skeptics
Gregory Shamus | Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS – Victor Oladipo remembers the comment, which was an indirect shot at the All-Star shooting guard.
Following the trade of Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to Indiana, in exchange for Paul George, everybody in the NBA world was weighing in.
Even a rival owner added his input, continuing the ripping of what the Pacers received for George.
“I will say Indiana could have done better than they did,” Cleveland Owner Dan Gilbert said.
Gilbert’s comments stemmed from his belief that the Cavs (and possibly a third team involved) had offered the Pacers a better package for George.
It was another person discrediting the type of player that Oladipo, and Sabonis, could become in Indiana.
As fate would have it, the Cavs and the Pacers are now meeting in the first round of the playoffs, some 9 months after the trade of George.
Following a Game 1 performance of 32 points and leading the Pacers to a dominating win on the Cavs’ home floor, Oladipo was asked about Gilbert’s comments.
“I already had fuel,” Oladipo said. “You could say it added fuel to the fire, I guess you could say. But that was so long ago. It came up recently, obviously, because we were playing the Cavs in the series, but I’m aware of what he said.
“Can’t control his opinion. All I’m focused on is myself and becoming the best Victor Oladipo possible.”
— NBA (@NBA) April 16, 2018
That ‘best Victor Oladipo’ was seen on Sunday.
As the top option on a playoff team, Oladipo showed no signs of the massive playoff spotlight being too big for him.
Oladipo was a menace all afternoon long against the Cavs. They had zero answer in guarding him off the dribble, with Oladipo able to get downhill routinely, and attack the rim, while also connecting on his perimeter shot (6-of-9 from three-point range).
Sunday was another step in the impressive progression of Oladipo.
This past season, Oladipo quickly set an All-Star pace in the fall. When Oladipo encountered some roadblocks around the All-Star break, with defensive attention growing towards him, he bounced back with a strong finish to the season.
Now, with the postseason arriving and the national attention focused on LeBron and the Cavs, Oladipo stole the spotlight on Sunday afternoon.
Cleveland now goes back to the drawing board in how to defend Oladipo after failing at that in Game 1.
The stoic Oladipo dropped 32 points on Sunday and then hardly showed an ounce of emotion in post-game interviews after.
It was a businessman-like effort in front of Gilbert and the Cavs.
“I believe that we believed that we could win,” Oladipo said. “We came in to this game with a mentality that we were going to attack on both ends of the floor. Playing the same way we’ve been playing all year and we did a great job of that. But like I said, it’s only one game, it’s only Game One so got to get ready for Game Two.”