In the NBA, a lot can change in just a few days’ time; just ask Miami Heat guard Victor Oladipo. Less than two weeks ago, the two-time All-Star had registered three straight DNPs and questions about his role with the team going forward abounded.
That was followed by a cryptic tweet from Oladipo himself — a highlight reel from his glory days along with the caption, “Remember me?” It was a post that some considered a declaration of his discontent, which incited even more chatter about his place with the team.
Now, though, one can’t help but wonder how Heat coach Erik Spoelstra could possibly afford not to utilize the 29-year-old during postseason play.
Regardless of whether or not he’s fully back to being his old self, Oladipo has made it clear that he still has something to offer the title-chasing Heat. Specifically, something that could help put them over the top in the Eastern Conference.
In an April 3 win over the Raptors, Oladipo responded about as well as anyone could have hoped in his first post-benching appearance. While logging 27 minutes against Toronto, the baller scored 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 6-of-9 from three-point range.
He also added four assists, three rebounds and two steals. Meanwhile, the Heat outscored the Raptors by five points when he was on the floor.
As good as that performance was, though, it pales in comparison to the night he had during Miami’s season finale against the Magic. With multiple key players sitting out, Oladipo got the start and dropped a nasty 40-point double-double, adding 10 rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
While his big night caught fans and pundits off guard, Oladipo clearly felt it was a return to normalcy.
“It just felt good to play basketball,” he said, via the Miami Herald. “Being out there and being myself and trying my best to do whatever it takes to help the team win. So yeah, that’s pretty much it. Just hooping.”
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Will He Be a Playoff Contributor?
Although Oladipo sparked Heat Nation with his 40-point bomb, it’s worth remembering that funky things can happen in Game 82 when players are sitting out and nothing is at stake. Case in point: Precious Achiuwa scoring a career-high 23 points in Miami’s ’20-21 season finale.
Moreover, Oladipo is still rehabbing his injury, which means that every step forward could always be followed by two steps back. That said, the former two-way star obviously has some game left in him.
Nevertheless, he wasn’t interested in speculating on what his playoff role might be in the immediate aftermath of his outburst. As Oladipo sees it, that’s above his proverbial pay grade and he’s more concerned with handling his end of things.
“I have no control over that,” he said of the situation. “When my number is called, I’ll be ready if it’s called. I don’t have control over the rotation. I got to focus on continuing to get better and staying ready. I’m still in the rehab process.”