One of the top players in the Eastern Conference reportedly won’t be taking the court in Orlando. And it will benefit the Boston Celtics.
Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo told The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Friday that he has decided to opt out of the NBA’s restart.
This comes after Oladipo missed a majority of the 2019-20 season due to a quadriceps injury suffered last January.
Oladipo returned to the hardwood this spring and played in 13 games before the league suspended its season due to the coronavirus outbreak. His last game was a 27-point performance against the Celtics on March 10. During that game, and leading up to it, Oladipo showed signs of returning to health.
That’s exactly why his decision to opt out of the season is all the more noteworthy for teams around the Eastern Conference, specifically the Celtics.
Oladipo, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, has had success during his 19 career games against the Celtics. He’s averaged 17.3 points in those games, shooting 40 percent from the field. But Oladipo’s ability on the defensive end (105 career rating vs. Boston) will be equally missed by the Pacers this summer.
The third-seeded Celtics, as it currently stands, would not face the fifth-place Pacers in the first round. But with the Pacers and sixth-place Sixers possessing the same record (39-26) heading into the final eight games of the 2019-20 regular season, there’s a high probability Indiana will drop to the sixth seed and thus play No. 3 Boston.
And playing the Pacers without the two-time NBA All-Star? Well, that certainly would be good for the Celtics.
Thumbnail photo via Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports