Oladipo Still Struggling With His Injured Wrist
By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
When Victor Oladipo walked over to chat with reporters after the Thunder’s Wednesday practice it was hard not to notice his right wrist.
Well to be more accurate, it was actually impossible to see his right wrist because it was wrapped in an ice pack.
Sometimes it bothers him quite a bit, sometimes it doesn’t.
“Some days it just feels real stiff, some days it feels really good,” he said.
Oladipo admitted his wrist, which he hurt back in mid-December, may not be totally right until next season.
“It is what it is, I’m just gonna go out there and play as hard as I can.”
Oladipo refuses to use the bum wrist as an excuse as to why he’s been struggling with his shooting lately but it’s hard to imagine it’s not at least contributing to his problems.
Overall this season his shooting numbers are strong, among the best of his career, at 43.9 percent overall and 35.3 percent on threes.
But over the last 10 games Oladipo’s overall percentage has dropped to 40.7 and his 3-point percentage is down to 29.2. Over the last five games the numbers are even worse, 33.8 percent overall and just 16.7 percent from deep.
Oladipo is also adjusting to another new role. Now that Enes Kanter is out of the lineup, Oladipo has been spending more time with the second unit.
“You need a third person to be able to generate offense either for themselves or for someone else,” head coach Billy Donovan pointed out. “And the last thing I’d wanna do for Victor if he’s in there with that second group and coming back in at the end of the first quarter is for him to feel like the main thing he has to do or has to focus on is scoring for that group because whaddya do if they take that away from you?”
So what Donovan would prefer is Oladipo becoming more of a playmaker, “and I think Victor can do that, can be a playmaker for us.”
“Yeah that’s another thing I need to continue to get better at,” Oladipo admitted. “Not only with the second unit but in general as well.”
It would also help if that darn wrist would quit stiffening up and hurting.
Abrines’ Back Flares Up
Shooting guard Alex Abrines had to be taken out of the Pacers’ game Monday night when his lower back stiffened up again. Abrines missed a couple of games last week with soreness in his back and then felt a twinge while he was playing Monday night.
Donovan does not believe is serious.
“I thought he gave us some really good minutes in the first half then he got dinged up but he went through practice today and I think he’s feeling better. I’m anticipating him playing (Thursday) but I’ll have a better understanding after shootaround.”