‘Dreadful’ 2017 Playoffs Pushed Victor Oladipo
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INDIANAPOLIS – It’s not often an athlete, or any person for that matter, so openly admits his or her failures.
But Victor Oladipo doesn’t hide from them at all.
In fact, he’s reminding people of why he re-shaped his off-season routine last summer.
A playoff series against the Rockets in 2017, in which the Thunder lost 4-1, came with Oladipo offering minimal help to his then Oklahoma City team.
Let Oladipo describe his play:
“I played dreadful. Absolutely terrible,” Oladipo now says of a series in which he shot 34 percent from the floor and just 24 percent from long distance.
Oladipo was 9-of-43 from the floor in three road losses to the Rockets that series.
Unbeknownst at the time, those games were the last time Oladipo would don an Oklahoma City jersey.
But before the Pacers came calling two months later, Oladipo had already made a commitment to himself.
Enough of an NBA career of not living up to ‘No. 2 pick’ expectations.
“I remember after that series sitting in the locker room, the last room in the locker room, pondering why?” Oladipo admits. “You work so hard. You put in the work. Why did it end up like that? That’s when I had to wake up and know that I had to change my body. I need to change my mind and invest in myself. That’s when I dedicated to go to Miami, staying there a majority of the summer and just working.
“Honestly, it saved my career.”
Such a humbling playoff experience had a fuming Oladipo headed to Miami to train with David Alexander at DBC Fitness.
Before the Pacers inquired about Oladipo in late June 2017, the guard had already immersed himself in changing his body and mind.
Sure, Indiana granted Oladipo an opportunity he was never going to receive alongside Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City.
But without Oladipo’s vow to himself, the Pacers likely were not getting a player on the verge of stardom, despite such a horrid playoff performance two months earlier.
Oladipo is back in Miami this offseason, training with Alexander after a playoff experience that has left more of a stinging feeling.
“I’m still hungry. I think I’m hungrier now than I was when I first got here,” the All-Star guard says.
“I’ve come a long way. It’s amazing how things change in a year.”