God dammit. I think deep down we all knew this was going to be the case when this play happened last night, but the team just came out and gave the specifics and I must say a ruptured quad tendon sounds awful. It was one of those plays where you knew right away it was bad when it happened given everyone’s reaction, and in real time I would have guessed anything from a dislocated/broken knee camp, ACL tear, etc. I have no idea how much worse a ruptured quad tendon is compared to those, but it doesn’t really matter since his season is officially over. That sucks no matter who your favorite team is, and I say that as someone who desperately needs to catch IND in the standings. You never want to see good young players have season ending injuries and the ensuing questions about their future.. Especially when one of those young players is someone like Oladipo who not only plays at an All Star level, but also really embraced being a Pacer. Their season is pretty much a wrap at this point, at least when it comes to staying in that top 4. Then once you get to the playoffs it’s all about your top talent, and they just lost a guy who was an absolute monster during their postseason run last year.
The question now becomes, what do they do moving forward? Do they try and come up with a package to trade for Mike Conley? You may have heard but he’s on the block and also played his high school basketball in Indiana. They certainly fit his style, they aren’t exactly a fast paced team, they are a defense first grind you down type team that Conley has thrived in while in MEM. The Pacers would also give Conley a good team for a postseason run, and it wouldn’t shock me if we hear those two linked together.
The other option is to simply just stay the course. Heading into the season the one thing we did say was that the Pacers had really good guard depth with Tyreke Evans/Cory Joseph/Aaron Holiday. Now don’t be confused, none of those guys are Victor Oladipo, but together maybe they give the Pacers just enough where they choose to not unload valuable assets and take on that Conley contract. This unfortunate news also gives Myles Turner more of a role within the offense and a chance to show he’s worth that $80M extension he got this summer. He’s hovered around a 20% usage rate in his four years in IND, and my guess is that number is about to skyrocket. Also expect Sabonis, a guy who is having a breakout year to have a bigger role as well. There is a chance they could tread water given the conference they play in, but to me that’s about it. I think seeing what this team looks like over the next week or so before the deadline will certainly play a factor as well. If they prove they can still be competitive, it would shock me if this team made a blockbuster move. I’m not so sure this is a career ending injury or anything like that, so maybe adding depth via a small trade or the buyout market might be the play.
This whole thing just sucks because the Pacers were a team that nobody really paid attention to but were really good. They absolutely should be in the PHI/BOS tier and conversation as a top 3 team in the East. Still a tier below TOR/IND, but a group that could hang with those guys on any given night. That’s over now. Now it’s about rallying behind this and using it to your advantage. The Celtics did something like that after Hayward went down and sometimes weird terrible injuries like this can have that sort of impact.
Either though this was expected, it still sucks. I said it last night and I’ll say it again, fuck injuries. Here’s to a speedy recovery and an epic comeback.
Pretty cool to hear from former Pacer Paul George who also went through something like this give his thoughts earlier today. If anyone knows what Oladipo is going through it’s him