Indiana’s Victor Oladipo is having an incredibly impressive season, really taking his game to a whole new level in his junior season. Oladipo had been an explosive wing defender, who’s only real offensive threat was when he got to the rim and showed off his dunking skills. Now, Oladipo is the best wing player in the Big Ten, and has been a huge part of Indiana being the no. 1 team in the country.
The biggest difference for Oladipo has been his offensive game, which he has expanded to new heights, adding a jump shot, as well as better handles. This diversifying of Oladipo’s offensive arsenal has made him a truly dynamic player, not just a shutdown defender. Many would now argue that Oladipo is more valuable to Indiana than Cody Zeller.
Oladipo’s numbers show the whole story. He is scoring more (14 ppg, compared to 10.8 last season) and scoring more efficiently (.639 fg% in 12-13′, .471 fg% last season). Oladipo is doing this by making open jumpers that are created by other Indiana playmakers. The most dramatic improvement for Oladipo has been his three point shooting. He is making .511% of his three point attempts, after making just .201% last season. His true shooting precentage leads the Big Ten, at .710. He clearly put in the effort over the off-season to elevate his shooting ability. All of that work in improving his game has paid off for Oladipo, giving him the second highest offensive rating on Indiana at 132.1, finishing second to only Jordan Hulls.
Oladipo’s PER is equally impressive, rising from 20.5 last season, to 31.3 this year, second best in the Big Ten. His leap of nearly 50% is tremendous and almost unprecedented improvement for a player offensively.
Oladipo has improved his offensive game while also becoming a better defender and rebounder. He is averaging six rebounds per game, after averaging just over five last season. A more obvious improvement has been his offensive rebounding, specifically. Oladipo’s offensive rebounding percentage is up from 8.7 to 11.7, very impressive for a guard.
Defensively, Oladipo has found ways to become better, even though that has always been his strength. Oladipo’s defensive rating has improved each season, going from 101.2 in 2011-12, to 97.0 last season and ultimately dropping all the way down to 83.7 this season. That is the best on the team, and the best in the Big Ten since 2009-10, when Basketball-Reference started keeping the stat. So, Oladipo went out and improved every weakness in his game on offense and still made a huge leap in his strength, defense, becoming the best in the conference.
All of these dramatic improvements to Oladipo’s game have made him incredibly valuable. Oladipo has the highest win share in the Big Ten and fourth best in the country, at 6.7 wins. That is higher than Zeller, the alleged best player on Indiana. Coming in to the season, many believed Indiana would go as far as Zeller could take them. Now, however, it appears Oladipo can be the force that carries the Hoosiers deep into March. Zeller is still a stud, but now Indiana has two, with Oladipo being arguably the most improved player in the country and maybe the most valuable.