The high-octane guard, who is currently the only player in the Eastern Conference averaging at least 20 points and 1.9 steals while shooting above 40 percent from three, was selected by the coaches to represent the city he commonly refers to as home in Los Angeles on February 18.
“Facts are facts,” Nate McMillan said of emails the team sent out to other teams regarding Oladipo’s qualifications as an All-Star, prior to tonight’s announcement. “You look at his numbers, you look at the team numbers, and what we’ve done and what he has done — I think that speaks for itself.”
Along with the likely front-runner for the league’s Most Improved Player award, the talent added to the selection pool from the East will include Al Horford, Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Love, Bradley Beal, Kyle Lowry, and John Wall.
Here’s three charts showing why Indiana’s newly minted first-time All-Star was arguably the surest shoo-in of the bunch:
He’s doing a lot with a lot
This graph plots the usage of the East’s reserves. Without an All-Star running mate to lighten his load, Oladipo shoulders a greater nightly offensive burden than Horford, Lowry, and Love. However, among those using at least 27 percent of their team’s possessions while on the court, he’s making the most efficient use of the most.
He makes scoring easy points look easy
Oladipo is taking and making threes at a career-best rate, but he’s also been a menace to keep out of the paint as well as a force with which to be reckoned in the open floor.
Case in point: He’s scoring more points per 100 possessions in scenarios when the defense is outnumbered (6.8) than ... (wait for it)... the Portland Trail Blazers (6.5) an entire team.
The late-bloomer is leading the Eastern Conference in fast-break points as well as points off turnovers. Plus, when those two stats are combined with points in the paint and free throw attempts per game, he has the highest aggregate total.
He makes an impact on both sides of the ball
Oladipo is sparingly responsible for locking down the opposing team’s best player, but the work he does in the gaps — be it narrowing passing lanes or earning point-saving, point-creating steals and deflections —- is pivotal and nearly unparalleled among the guards selected out of the East.
Granted, on versus off numbers are not always the best metric to compare defenders across teams and systems, since players can be the benefactors of playing within better defensive lineups and vice versa.
Still, the Pacers have surrendered 112.2 points per 100 possessions in the 832 minutes they’ve played with Oladipo on the bench, a mark which would currently rank dead-last in the league; thereby, highlighting how much responsibility he is forced to bear on both ends of the floor.
Tellingly, Indiana went 0-4, surrendering a mammoth 118.0 points per 100 possessions, when the feathery pace-setter was sidelined with knee soreness earlier this month.
Now that the coach’s have done the obvious, it’s up to LeBron James and Stephen Curry to take turns picking their rosters from the available group of players.
Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, LaMarcus Aldridge, Draymond Green, and Karl-Anthony Towns rounded out the selections from the West.