Before the 2021-22 season, Victor Oladipo said that he wanted to “have one of the best comeback stories ever.” He posted videos to his Instagram account documenting his progress after having surgery to repair his right quadriceps tendon.
And now, after making his long-awaited return to NBA action nearly a month ago, is the experiment with Victor Oladipo done, at least for this season?
In addition to swapping Max Strus for Duncan Robinson in the starting lineup, Erik Spoelstra made another rotation change in the Miami Heat’s last two games. And those two games were wins after a season-long four-game losing streak. Victor Oladipo and Markieff Morris, who both missed most of this season before returning in March, did not play. Guards Gabe Vincent, Tyler Herro and Robinson played off the bench — not Oladipo, a two-time All-Star.
We can debate as to how the Heat handled his return. Should they have signed him to a two-year, minimum contract, letting him rehab this season and come back in 2022-23 with a full training camp? Should Miami have brought him back earlier instead of trying to bring him onboard more than 65 games deep into the season?
Last week, when the Heat had lost their last four games, I said that it appeared unlikely that Oladipo would raise the ceiling of this team from a talent perspective. His best moments came in his debut against Houston March 7, but he hasn’t shown that he can be an efficient three-level scorer. That’s what fans hoped to see him from him — even if he didn’t quite recapture his 2017-18 All-NBA self.
For now, it appears Spoelstra will stick with Vincent in the rotation. Instead of being the wild card to the Heat’s championship aspirations, Oladipo appears to be a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option in the playoffs if someone suffers an injury or goes through a bad slump.