Define the role of Victor Oladipo in the rotation

Miami Heat goalie Victor Oladipo (4) attempts a three-point shot in the second quarter of a game against the Golden State Warriors
(Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports)

Last season, the Miami Heat traded for Victor Oladipo on the trade deadline, hoping his talent would support a tired team entering the NBA playoffs. Sadly, Oladipo suffered a quad tendon injury which put him on the sidelines for all but four games with the Heat.

As a result of his recent injuries, Oladipo’s value has dropped significantly during the offseason. In an effort to prove himself, Oladipo returned to the Heat with a minimum contract of one year.

Both Oladipo and the Heat stand to benefit from this deal as it is a low risk, high reward deal for the Heat to sign.

Oladipo will not be available for the start of the season, but he could return as early as November. When he returns, what will his role be like?

Last season, Oladipo scored around 20 points per game. He averaged 20.0 points in nine games with the Pacers and 21.2 points in 20 games with the Rockets. The Pacers were ninth in the East last year, while the Rockets finished last in the West.

Based on the talent of their roster, the Heat will compete for one of the top spots in the East this year. Once back, Oladipo will likely come off the bench, but he should be the fourth option on offense behind Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry.

Victor Oladipo is expected to be a double-digit goalscorer and elite perimeter defender for the Miami Heat this season

His averages should drop slightly, as he was the Pacers’ second or third option. However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him averaging around 16 points per game once he finds his rhythm.

Oladipo is also a strong playmaker and ball handler. The Heat don’t have too many options for their point guard, so expect Oladipo to initiate the offense on occasion.

Oladipo’s defensive ability is where he will shine in Miami. Adding Oladipo to the Heat’s rotation as early as November will be a problem for opposing teams.

It is excellent for covering quick guards. His speed and deflection ability allow him to defend the ball well. If they chose to try the training, the Miami Heat could play Kyle Lowry, Victor Oladipo, Jimmy Butler, PJ Tucker and Bam Adebayo all at the same time in their main positions.

Floor spacing in this lineup could be a potential issue, depending on how Oladipo, Butler and Adebayo’s jumpers look during the season, but it would surely frustrate opposing coaches and cause them to scratch their heads when planning for their attack.

As the playoffs come, Oladipo’s role will be critical to Miami’s success. Since the Miami Heat doesn’t have a true NBA superstar, it’s vitally important that they have plenty of skilled players who are well versed in their role.

The scoring load will be shared between several players on the team. As the first or second player off the bench, it’s Oladipo’s job to give the team a double-digit score and play the lockdown defense every night. If he’s able to do this while remaining healthy, it could elevate the Heat’s level of play to a team that could win it all.

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