You can include me among basketball fans who think that Oladipo was screwed at OKC. There’s something fundamentally wrong about what OKC was doing with Westbrook. They seemed to be going for individual records rather than wins. Westbrook’s productivity per possession is not that outstanding; they larded him up with possessions anyway. The rest of the team was cast into a supporting role: do what is necessary to get Westbrook’s numbers up. Maybe that’s OKC’s plan for filling seats, but it’s sure not a plan for competing for championships.
Curry advanced his game this year more than Westbrook did — even after coming off of two MVP seasons. Why do I think this? Because he stopped caring about individual stats and focused more instead on breaking down the defense for his team. Sometimes he got assists, but more often, he performed the moves that would get someone else assists. Curry has gravity; defenders are pulled in towards him, regardless of where he is. He learned to take advantage of that for his team in 2016–2017.
The only gravity Westbrook has is at the rim. He’s not *that* great an outside shooter, and with the ball in his hands, his turnover rate is high. He does often dish when the defense collapses on his drives, but once he has his triple-double for the night, he starts making difficult shots himself rather than using what gravity he possesses to make his team great. He wasn’t chasing a title; he was chasing Oscar Robertson. And his team was all-in on it.
Oladipo isn’t suited for the role OKC gave him. It’s that simple. And that’s why his contract wasn’t a good deal for OKC.
Will it be for the Pacers?
It really comes down to team tactics and coaching. If the franchise uses him to his strengths, he could be a very good addition to their roster. But if they force him out of his comfort zone, it won’t be pretty. Catch-and-shoot is definitely not in his comfort zone. Neither is standing around watching a ball-dominant player play iso against the rest of the league.
As for Paul George, he’s going to spend a year in purgatory. He won’t fit at OKC any better than Oladipo did, and he’ll be pleased as punch to move on after his one year there. He’ll be fortunate if his player value doesn’t drop.