Have you ever wondered how beavers build dams? It’s a tough job, and not only is it hard, but it also takes time, a lot of it. There is also the factor of careful planning and many of them working together to achieve their final goal. Now, why am I telling you that? Well… while beavers build dams, NBA teams build their franchises. Every NBA team main goal is of course to win the title, but for a franchise to do that, the GMs, scouts, and players spend a lot of their time and their energy to lay the groundwork for the title run. It’s a process that takes years of careful planning, hard work, signings, trades, and much more. But what happens when one of the branches in the damn falls out and the whole things comes down, on the other side what happens when the NBA team loses that main “branch” in their plan to fight for the title? That just might have happened to Indiana Pacers after the injury of Viktor Oladipo who will miss the rest of the season.
January 24th, the day when the Indiana Pacers played against Toronto Raptors at their home stadium at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana Pacers came into the match after an impressive 2 games winning streak and were hoping to make it 3 in a row in front of their own fans. The match started off great for Indiana, as they were leading by 8 points before heading into the 2nd quarter when they managed to hold on to the lead. But then came the 8th minute of the 2nd quarter when the disaster happened. After trying to stop the counterattack of Raptors, Oladipo suddenly fell to the floor with tremendous pain in his right leg and for those with a careful eye and some knowledge in injuries, it was clear; Victor Oladipo suffered a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee. This is the same injury that ended Charles Barkley’s career, but he was 36 years old and was already planning on retiring from the NBA so the injury was not that big of a shock. It’s also the same injury that Tony Parker suffered last year and while he managed to return, it took him a good year to return some of his athleticism. Now, what does the injury of Oladipo mean for the Indiana Pacers?
To be fair Indiana Pacers did play well in a few matches without Oladipo this season, but in the long run, I simply don’t see them holding the No.3 seed in the East which they worked hard to get. In fact, I would be surprised if they finished above no.5 spot.
So, what’s next for Indiana? Should they look for a trade and bring a replacement for Oladipo, or try and “stay afloat” without him? While it’s still unsure which way they will go, Indiana will need to settle for “only” a playoff spot this season, instead of having a run they expected to have. There is also the question of what will the next year bring for the franchise? As mentioned, Tony Parker did have the same injury as Oladipo and managed to return to the league where he still plays at a very high level despite his age. That could mean good news for Victor Oladipo, but then again, I do not believe he will be 100% fit next year or at least at the start of the season. Indiana just might need to consider a possibility they won’t be able to count on Oladipo to carry them in the next season like he did this one.