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Oklahoma City Thunder season player grade Victor Oladipo: following the playoffs Oladipo looks to start anew

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Before a dissapointing playoff debut, Victor Oladipo played a major role in OKC’s historic season

NBA: Playoffs-Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Full Name: Victor Kehinde Oladipo

Contract Status: Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti signed Oladipo, as the centerpiece of a draft night trade with Orlando, to a 4 year $84 million extension on Oct 31, 2016.

Player History:

  • Acquired: June 23, 2016 via trade with Orlando Magic (OKC sent Serge Ibaka to the Magic in exchange for Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, and Ersan Ilyasova)
  • College: Indiana
  • Age: 25
  • Years Pro: 4
  • NBA Debut: October 29, 2013
  • Position: Shooting Guard

2016-2017 Player Statistics:

  • Games Played: 67
  • Minutes Per Game: 33.2
  • Points Per Game: 15.9
  • Rebounds Per Game: 4.3
  • Assists Per Game: 2.6 (career-low)
  • Blocks Per Game: 0.3
  • Field Goal %: 44 percent (career-high)
  • Three Point %: 36 percent (career-high)
  • Free Throw %: 75 (career-low)
  • Player Efficiency Rating: (13.6)

16/17 Pre-Season/Early-Season Peformance:

Following the immediate departure of Kevin Durant, Victor Oladipo became Oklahoma City’s #2 offensive option, and foremost two-way contributor (102.1 DefRtg).

Through his first 20 games as a Thunder, Oladipo hurdled schematic adjustments to average 17.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3 apg, and 1 spg on 46/41/67 shooting.

While discovering both the nuances of pick-and-roll basketball, and a fifth professional head coach in four years, Oladipo thrived before losing nine-consecutive games due to injury vs. Boston.

Regular Season Grade: B-

Oladipo’s initial season flanked by quality teammates consisted of fitful bursts as the 25-year-old’s numbers declined after a Dec. 31 return from injury. During the ensuing 24 contests, Oladipo’s scoring average (-1.3), assists (-0.7), field goal (-2.3), and three-point (-9.5) percentage sunk as Oklahoma City’s competition level increased.

More so, following All-Star Weekend, Oladipo missed an additional six games on account of back tightness.

However, while posting career-highs in field goal and three-point percentage, Oladipo’s efficiency rose over his final 19 regular-season outings.

Entering post-season play, as Russell Westbrook assumed ever expanded offensive responsibility, Oladipo shot 38 percent from three, and led all OKC starters to log 400-plus minutes with a 99.3 DefRtg.

Throughout his mostly positive, though injury hit regular-campaign, the Thunder’s second-leading scorer and burgeoning “three-and-D” threat readied for an anticipated playoff debut.

Playoff Grade: D

Billed as Oklahoma City’s “X-Factor” vs. Houston, unfortunately, Oladipo’s magnified struggles expedited OKC’s 1-4 first-round ouster.

Opposite Houston, Oladipo shot just 34 percent overall, while vanishing from deep (24%).

Further, after emerging as the Thunder’s number two scorer during the regular season, Oladipo’s offense fell to 10.9 ppg in second-season play.

During a competitive series, Oladipo’s 7-of-25 3PM and 21-61 FGM kept Oklahoma City in debt against the NBA’s second-highest scoring unit.

It is true that Oladipo became Oklahoma City’s playoff X-Factor — but for all the wrong reasons.

Future Expectations:

Extended early by Presti —along with Adams, and Westbrook— Oladipo is a key element in the Thunder’s future.

Although, following a dismal playoff outing, many Thunder observers are bandying the notion of Oladipo becoming OKC’s sixth-man next season. A proven scorer and defender, while improving from three, Victor Oladipo’s ideal role on a contending team is that of sixth-man.

However, for this switch to work, the Thunder must add or develop an additional piece worthy of opening contests aside Russell Westbrook.

Oladipo’s quality perimeter defense and above-average outside shooting aided many of Oklahoma City’s quick starts. A lesser defender likely would be unable to provide the current OKC roster with such a crucial advantage.

Therefore, Oladipo’s role will hinge on Sam Presti’s off-season choices.

Most Notable Game/Moment: November 16, 2016 vs. Houston Rockets

Many pinned such high playoff hopes upon Oladipo due to an explosive 29 point, 10 rebound, 5 assist performance which highlighted the Thunder’s lone seasonal win vs. Houston.

Certainly a few strong Oladipo outings could have definitively swung OKC’s playoff outlook.

Nonetheless, Oladipo ranked among Oklahoma City’s leaders in three-point FG’s made (127) #2, 3p% (36.1) #3, spg (1.2) #2, apg (2.6) #2, DefRtg (102.1) #1 among starters, NetRtg (+ 2.5) #4, and ppg (15.9) #2.

Entering a fifth season, following a summer of redemptive workouts, expect the best version of Victor Oladipo.