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Victor Oladipo is back. Can he fit in this time?

Victor Oladipo has played just 14 regular season games with the Heat.

Los Angeles Clippers v Miami Heat Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Victor Oladipo is now in his third season with the Miami Heat. Unfortunately, he’s only played 14 regular season games with a Heat uniform on.

In his fourth game after his trade to the Heat in March 2021, Oladipo made an explosive move to the basket for a huge dunk. Any hopes of a return to the 2018 Oladipo were soon dashed, though. Moments later, he suffered a knee injury and underwent season-ending surgery.

The former No. 2 overall pick didn’t play his fifth game as a Heat player until March of 2022. But integrating him as a rotation piece proved difficult. He became a fringe rotation player as the regular season wound down.

And then we got a few other flashes. In the regular season finale — with many starters resting — Oladipo scored 40 points. And in the first round series against the Atlanta Hawks, a Kyle Lowry hamstring injury gave Oladipo an opportunity. In the Game 5 clincher, with the Heat also resting Jimmy Butler, the two-time All-Star scored 23 points.

The rest of that playoff run was more of mixed bag, though. While Oladipo offered some great defense against the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics, he struggled offensively. Questions remain about the fit of Oladipo and Butler. In Games 5, 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Oladipo scored three, nine and nine points, respectively. With Lowry and Tyler Herro injured and limited, that wasn’t enough.

And here we are again. Oladipo has played two games this season. His availability allowed the Heat to give Lowry a night off for rest for Thursday’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers. But he missed all three of his 3-point attempts in that game.

As Tom Ziller noted in a recent piece, the Heat have fallen from No. 1 to No. 22 in 3-point conversion rate. Gabe Vincent fell from 37 percent shooting last year to 30 percent this year. Max Strus’ 3-point shooting fell from 41 percent to 36 percent.

Vincent and Strus were supposed to anchor the bench unit until Oladipo returned. They’ve both failed to build on their success from last year. The Heat could desperately use Oladipo to take on the sixth man role. But Erik Spoelstra has some work to do to see if Oladipo can fit in offensively.