Prior to the trade that sent James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, this team was a mess. Harden, who seemed to show up this season out of shape, also seemed unenthused to be in Houston. Following a press conference in which Harden appeared to give up on the franchise, GM Rafael Stone sent the star to the Brooklyn Nets for a load of draft picks. Also included in the trade for the Rockets was Pacers guard Victor Oladipo.
While Oladipo is an expiring contract for the Rockets, the question for the organization is whether or not Oladipo can play at a high level. Furthermore, can he play at a high enough level for the Rockets to offer him a long-term contract?
In his Rockets debut on Monday night, Oladipo was 13/23 from field goal range, along with 32 total points. In fact, his 32 points was the 2nd-most points scored for a player in their Rockets debut. Oladipo was averaging 20 points per game for the Indiana Pacers before he was traded. However, he hasn’t looked very strong in recent years, far removed from the 23.1 points per game he average in the 2017-18 season, which was his first for Indiana.
The Rockets did fall to the Chicago Bulls 125-120. However, Oladipo, Gordon, and Wood all scored over 20 points. In an era in which the Rockets have played ‘Harden Ball’ for nine seasons, it was quite refreshing to watch.
If the Rockets can continue to spread the ball around, while running the ball through Victor Oladipo, how far can this team go?
With a 4-8 record, it’s unlikely that the Rockets will be able to do much this season. However, if they can convince Victor Oladipo to sign a long-term contract, and surround him with more pieces, could this team make the Playoffs? Maybe even a series in the Playoffs?
I’m ready to find out.