The Indiana Pacers, along with the rest of the NBA, are about to experience the strangest ending to a year in league history.
On paper, this season promised to be one of the most competitive in recent memory. And it was, up until the mid-March shutdown.
Now teams are preparing for life inside “The Bubble”, a physical (and in some ways, metaphorical) buffer between 22 NBA teams and the outside world. Not even Walt Disney himself could have envisioned this.
JMV sat down with Indiana Pacers’ President of Basketball Operations, Kevin Pritchard, on Tuesday’s ‘The Ride with JMV’. The two wasted no time discussing the player every Pacers fan wants to see take the court in Orlando: Victor Oladipo.
“…We’ve put together a plan from literally Day 1 until the end of the Finals to make sure [Victor is] doing it the right way,” Pritchard said. “It’s something that is a plan but it’s moveable. We’ve talked about options out of it.”
Oladipo is still in the process of recovering from a ruptured quad tendon he suffered in January of 2019. The prolonged coronavirus shutdown hasn’t done his knee any favors.
“We will not put him in a bad position. If it’s not looking well, we’ll shut him down,” Pritchard said. “He won’t have to do it, we’ll do it for him. But everything looks really good right now…his conditioning is off the charts. The last three months, I don’t know what he’s done, but he’s in top form right now. So that gives us a lot of optimism that he can do this. We don’t want to put any undue pressure [on Vic]. Let’s evaluate it on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis…”
The Pacers are keeping their options open with Vic. Perhaps a minutes restriction is in the cards?
“I wouldn’t say that,” Pritchard told JMV. “I’d say we’re kind of bracketing some optimal minutes, starting out a little slower and then ramping it up over the first eight games. If that goes well, I could see him full at the playoffs. Again, I don’t want to put anything into stone. I don’t think that’s the way you do this.”
Sounds like a nice way of saying ‘minutes restriction’. Remember that Oladipo was limited to around 25 minutes in his first few games back in early February. He has not recorded more than 30 minutes played in 13 games this season.
With or without Vic, it’ll be up to the rest of the Pacers roster to get the job done once games resume on July 30th.
Listen to Kevin Pritchard’s full interview with JMV, including more on Victor Oladipo and reaction to Paul George’s recent comments:
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