Can Victor Oladipo regain his superstar form with the Houston Rockets?
From the looks of it, Oladipo looks to still be the player he once was as he rounds back into form coming off of injury. To start the season, Oladipo has performed nearly identically to his 2018-19 production when he was an All-Star.
On a per 36 minute basis, Oladipo is averaging 21.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 4.6 assists this season. In 2018-19 he posted, per 36-minute, averages of 21.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.9 steals, and 5.8 assists.
However, there is some optimism that Oladipo can push beyond these numbers and once again get into the All-NBA conversation. This season Oladipo is shooting 47-percent on his 2-pointers and 36.2-percent on 3-pointers.
As a career 35-percent 3-point shooter his efficiency from beyond the arc is encouraging, especially considering that he is taking a career-high 7.7 attempts from 3-point range. However, the real reason for excitement is how much room Oladipo has for growth on his 2-pointers.
Shooting 47-percent on 2-pointers is not an impressive number, in fact, it is 10-percent worse than the league average of 52.3-percent. When Oladipo was at his best he shot 52.7-percent on 2-pointers and was above the league average.
How can Oladipo get from 47-percent to 52.3-percent? Simple, he just needs to keep doing what he’s doing. To start the season, Oladipo has attempted 31.6-percent of his shots three feet or closer to the rim, which is the most he has attempted since 2014-15.
The problem has been that he is converting these shots only 54.2-percent of the time, which is well below his career average of 59.2-percent. If Oladipo can get back to his career average or above 60-percent like he was the three seasons before his injury then his shooting percentage will see a massive bump.
Not to mention, he is posting a career-worst mark on mid-range jumpers and there is every reason to believe he’ll get back into the 40-percent range and won’t continue to shoot under 30-percent on them. The upside for Oladipo is immense because he is performing at a similar level to his All-Star level season but there is still plenty of easy room for his production to increase.
It would be unreasonable to expect Oladipo to be as good as he was in 2017-18 because so much of his value was tied up in his elite defense. However, he looks to be well on his way to posting All-Star level offense and, while no longer an elite defender, he remains a very good one.
The Rockets have to be excited by what Oladipo can bring to the franchise but the question that looms over his acquisition of whether he’ll stay or not has the potential to dampen their enthusiasm. If Oladipo continues to improve off of a serious injury then the Rockets will have a franchise player, that is, if they can keep him.
Next: Should the Rockets trade Victor Oladipo?