If you were to ask anyone around the league last summer, the conventional wisdom was that the Thunder had made out like bandits in the Paul George trade. That was largely because Victor Oladipo had been so underwhelming in his lone season in Oklahoma City that the front office didn’t hesitate to use him as trade fodder.
One year later, Oladipo is now an All-Star, the NBA’s Most Improved Player, the Pacers’ de facto franchise cornerstone, and one of the league’s hottest rising stars. To the casual fan, it probably seems as if the basketball gods reached down and blessed him with the Midas touch.
But that would do a big disservice to all the hard work, discipline, and fearlessness that it took on his part to so drastically alter the trajectory of a career that was quickly veering off course. Things certainly clicked into place for him in Indiana last season, but it was the result of bold decision-making that was not without significant risks.