The Indiana Pacers currently hold the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, looking to compete for a spot in the NBA Finals. Indiana is currently two games behind the Miami Heat for the fourth spot, but are also close to dropping to the six seed. After Victor Oladipo’s gruesome injury, it seemed as if he was getting back into his normal groove following the slow start. But, as the NBA has started to get ready for the Orlando restart, a few players have decided to opt out of playing. One of those players is Oladipo himself. Without Oladipo, the Pacers could be in more trouble when trying to avoid playing Boston in the first round.
Let’s take a look at the Pacers schedule, and predict their record throughout the eight games:
Game 1: 76ers- This game could quickly determine the five seed in the East, and without Oladipo, I don’t think Indiana can win this game. (L)
Game 2: Wizards- The Washington Wizards are arguably the weakest team in the Orlando bubble. I have the Pacers getting an easy win in their second game. (W)
Game 3: Magic- The Orlando Magic have shown flashes of hope this season, but nothing too special. With a dead offense, Indiana should be able to get the job done without Oladipo. (W)
Game 4: Suns- So far, the Pacers haven’t a tough schedule. The Suns are no harder. Indiana can finish Phoenix off, and it shouldn’t be close. (W)
Game 5: Lakers- Here’s where the hard teams start to come in. These next four games will be the ones where the Pacers need Victor Oladipo. My prediction for this game is a W for King James’ Lakers. (L)
Game 6: Heat- The Pacers will be matched up against Miami twice during the eight games, and both games will be very close. With Oladipo, I say Indiana has a chance at winning 2, but without him, I think Miami will take a game or two. (L)
Game 7: Rockets- Yet another tough team Indiana will be facing, the Houston Rockets will be playing with Harden and Westbrook healthy, and nothing should be concerning them in this game. The offensive-powered Houston Rockets should be able to take down the Indiana Pacers in the 7th game of the season. (L)
Game 8: Heat- With these predictions, Indiana has been on a three game losing streak. I don’t think it’ll end here. In the season series between Miami and the Pacers, the Heat have won both games, with one of them being by double digits. (L)
Final 8 game record: 3-5
Without Oladipo, I think that Philadelphia will jump up to the five seed, forcing the Pacers to play Boston most likely in the first round. Losing Vic will be very harsh for the Pacers, but we have seen what this team can do without him.
What Indiana will miss the most without Oladipo: Victor Oladipo has helped the Pacers in many ways, but one of the biggest things he has done for them is be there in the clutch. The go-to man for Indiana is Oladipo for a reason. He can play lockdown defense, or knock down a shot at anytime.
There has been hope that Oladipo will change his mind, as he has said that “My body is feeling good,” Oladipo said. “It was hard for me to assess where I was at…with Corona and all of that, I couldn’t really control it. There’s a possibility I could play.”
We will see what the future holds for Oladipo, but for now, his decision is still up in the air.
Top Photo: USA Today