Welcome Back Victor Oladipo

It's been a total of 371 days since we've last seen Victor Olapido on an NBA court. He officially makes his season debut tonight against the Bulls and in my opinion it's a move that could really help determine how the top 4 seeds in the East ultimately shake out. He'll of course be brought along slowly, but Oladipo is the quality of player where he could be a legit difference maker if he comes back and is the All Star Oladipo we saw last season before his injury. That's what makes this so intriguing to me, the Pacers have done a phenomenal job keeping pace with all the non MIL contenders despite not having their best player. They are 30-17, and just 3 games from a 2 seed. The team directly ahead of them by 0.5 games (PHI), they currently own the 2-1 H2H advantage. This is a Pacers team that currently ranks 14th in offense, 11th in defense, and 12th in net rating. Well the guy they are about to add is going to help in all those areas.

This whole thing honestly reminds me a lot of Hayward's initial return last year. We knew that if he came back like UTA Hayward then it was going to be a difference maker. Ultimately he was nowhere close to that, with a large part of the issue being the mental aspect of coming back. It took him a full year to even look close to the player we knew on a consistent basis. I'm curious to see how Oladipo responds, because the Pacers ceiling absolutely raises if he doesn't have those same issues. It's been a while so I can understand if you've forgotten what Oladipo's game looked like, but he took a leap last season

Their closer is back. A two way stud who has blossomed into a #1 option since he got to IND, you're adding that talent level to a team that already had themselves a hell of a summer. The additions of TJ Warren and Malcolm Brogdon have been huge, they already have a dynamic front court duo in Sabonis/Turner and have a great coach. Not many teams are going to be adding All Star level talent this trade deadline, and here the Pacers are doing just that. It's going to be very interesting to see how the rotations work and how quickly he can get his legs back under him.

From someone who had to live through a main guy rehabbing for about a year, I'm happy for Pacers fans. Nobody loves Oladipo more than the state of Indiana, and I hope he comes back and looks better than ever. That injury was gruesome as hell and it was impossible to not feel for a guy having a career year to have it taken like that. 

But now he's back and could be a big time difference maker in a loaded 2-6 seed race.