Looking back at Victor Oladipo’s lone season with the OKC Thunder

Victor Oladipo #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Victor Oladipo #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Lost in the whirlwind of movements from free agency season, Victor Oladipo returns to the OKC Thunder in exchange for draft compensation. Oladipo is in the final year of his contract after being riddled with numerous injuries while clinging to the glances of his former All-Star self.

But before rising to an All-Star level in Indiana and pit stops in Houston and Miami, Victor Oladipo was part of the first team in the post-Kevin Durant era, ushering in a new age of basketball in OKC.

Looking back at Victor Oladipo’s time in Oklahoma City as the Heat trade him back to the Thunder.

The Oklahoma City Thunder traded for Victor Oladipo and the 11th pick of the 2016 NBA draft, which turned out to be Domantas Sabonis, for Serge Ibaka on draft night. It was seen as a massive win for the Thunder as they flipped a declining defensive anchor for a young, explosive two-guard and a prospect that later became an All-Star and one of the best post-hubs in the league.

In the 2016-2017 season, Oladipo — playing alongside the Most Valuable Player Russell Westbrook — averaged 15.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game, filling in a secondary ball-handler role while flaunting his two-way chops. He was a solid contributor throughout the season, but the weight of the loss of Durant from the roster left the fanbase with lots to be desired.

OKC is also where Victor Oladipo found his touch as a respectable shooter in the league, upping his three-point attempts per game to about five while converting about 36 percent of them — a significant jump from the year prior when he just shot 34 percent from deep.

His increased frequency and accuracy made him a valuable commodity and the best player outside of Westbrook in the 2017 season, as the Thunder finished the year with 47 wins and the sixth spot in the conference.

More than his overall numbers, Oladipo was the catalyst of some of the most incredible highlights in that season, including the 2017 Dunk of the Year, which saw him double-clutch a posterizing dunk on the then-Atlanta Hawk Dwight Howard.

He was also the recipient of one of the greatest, if not the greatest assist Russell Westbrook has ever made in his career, threading a one-handed bounce pass in between the legs of a sprinting defender for a fastbreak finish by Oladipo in Toronto.

Looking back, Thunder Victor Oladipo was a prelude to his All-Star self. OKC, despite playing just one season, was home for Oladipo where he honed his craft and upped his value. What’s next for him in the city is anyone’s guess. Surely though, it will be what is best for both sides.

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