The Indiana Pacers are moving forward with a new core after major changes this offseason. One of the key acquisitions was Victor Oladipo from the Oklahoma City Thunder via the Paul George trade.
In Cleveland last Friday for a matchup with the Cavaliers, Oladipo took the time to sit down with Basketball Insiders for a brief one-on-one conversation about the transition and his upcoming season.
Basketball Insiders: This is your third straight year of training camp with a brand new team, but luckily you’re familiar with the state of Indiana because of your college days. How are things going so far?
Victor Oladipo: It’s going good. I’m liking it so far. I feel like they really believe in me here, so I’m looking forward to the journey that lies ahead.
BI: You slimmed down over the summer and put some muscle on. Physically, do you feel like you’re in the best shape of your life?
VO: Yeah, definitely. Not even close. I feel good, and the result when you feel good, you play good.
BI: You made your Pacers preseason debut in Milwaukee on Wednesday and dropped 15 points. Obviously hitting the floor is different than working out. How do you feel you came out?
VO: I mean I was a little excited, just like I think everybody was at first, but then the game started settling in, I started settling in. Things just kind of came naturally.
BI: The fact that this is your third team already—does that motivate you? You said they believe in you here, but those other franchises, they flipped you.
VO: I mean, yes. At the end of the day, it is what it is. I can’t really control what happens in the past. All I’m focused on is right now and this team that I have right here. I’m going to do whatever I can to help this team win and do whatever it takes to help my teammates get better and we’ll see where we go from there.
BI: Nate McMillan is going to be your fourth head coach, technically fifth counting the interim (James Borrego in 2014-15) since you’ve entered the league. Is that taxing on you?
VO: Nah. At the end of the day, everything happens for a reason. I’m a firm believer in that. I’m supposed to be here and going to make the most of the situation I’m in now.
BI: Losing Paul George, there are a lot of people out there thinking that this team is going to take a dive because it’s a brand new group. Overall so far, what are you seeing from the guys as far as trying to prove the doubters wrong?
VO: We’ve got a lot of hungry guys that are trying to prove themselves and we’ve got a lot of guys who want to win. When you bring us together, we all have the same common goal. A lot of special things can happen, so we’re looking forward to the journey that lies ahead and the opportunity that lies ahead as well.
BI: Are you taking a lot of that responsibility on yourself, being a primary contributor?
VO: I guess you can say that, but at the end of the day I’m just going to go out there and—like I said before—just help my teammates win man. It’s a team game, so I’m going to go out there and do whatever I can to help this team win and get us where we need to be. That’s what my focus is on.
BI: Is there anybody that you’ve noticed has that extra drive? Just reading around and looking at social media, Myles Turner is already a big believer in what you guys can do.
VO: He’s a special talent, obviously, Myles. He’s getting better every day. We’ve got a lot of guys who are capable of doing some great things out there. It’s going to be fun to watch.
BI: Is there anything specifically that you want to improve on as the season progresses?
VO: Just my mindset. That’s the biggest thing—just staying aggressive.
BI: Is that something you’ve had trouble with in the past?
VO: A little bit, but I don’t think I’ll have much trouble doing that here. I’m looking forward to this opportunity.
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