Pacers prez Kevin Pritchard spent various chunks of his postseason post-mortem press conference with Nate McMillan on Tuesday lauding the impact Victor Oladipo had on the franchise from the moment he set foot in the Fieldhouse.
Oladipo not only raised his level of play on the court and in doing so, lifted his teammates’ level of play, but his “feathery” attitude and approach to the day-to-day was also felt throughout the organization. In particular, Pritchard learned to appreciate the way Oladipo “hit the reset button” each morning to make the most of the day ahead regardless of the past day’s results.
Broaden that approach out to the season and Oladipo will hit the reset button as he delves into the offseason and prepares for his second year with the Pacers.
Can Vic build on what he delivered this season?
Pritchard relayed a story which reveals that Oladipo is still pretty young and I, for one, am old. For his exit interview, Pritchard and GM Chad Buchanan played Milli Vanilii’s late-80’s hit song, “Girl You Know It’s True” from the duo’s album of the same name. As Pritchard laid out the story, I fully expected him to say that Oladipo walked in, heard the music and immediately started singing along perfectly.
Instead Oladipo said, “Who’s that?”
Good on, Vic.
Buchanan told him it was Milli Vanilli, the all-time one-hit-wonder act. For those of you who also wonder who Milli Vanilli was, within a year, their album had four hit songs and the group won a Grammy for Best New Artist. We listened to these things called radios back then and their songs were on constantly.
But the music faded quickly after having the Grammy stripped for lip syncing, exposing the group as a fraud. Essentially they were like Greg Brady perfoming as Johnny Bravo -- had the look and fit the suit.
Oh, wait, if you don’t know who Milli Vanilli was then a Brady Bunch reference really isn’t helping. Sigh.
When Buchanan and Pritchard challenged Oladipo, asking if he was going to be a one-hit-wonder, Victor said he was more Michael Jackson. Good answer.
So Oladipo hits the reset button as he heads home to the DMV to celebrate his 26th birthday today. But the work to prepare for next season is under way. Last year that meant grinding with his trainer in Miami and finding ways to expand his game in a new environment. The results were a likely Most Improved Player award, All-NBA and NBA All-Defensive Team recognition and more importantly, helping his team crush preseason expectations with 48 regular season wins.
Repeating those results won’t be easy but Oladipo’s season was no fraud. Knowing his drive to build on past success is real, as well, makes looking forward to his next act at the Fieldhouse quite exciting.
Happy birthday, Victor.
These guys, a fraud? No way!