The Indian Pacers have had their fair share of bad luck over the years and it’s continued this season with Victor Oladipo’s tragic knee injury. Oladipo had an incredible breakthrough last season and the All-Star guard is now facing the rest of the season on the sidelines after the injury that was suffered in their four-point win to the Raptors.
This isn’t the first time that something like that has happened in the Pacers history, Oladipo is just one of three players who have won Most Improved Player of the Year and have then suffered a season-ending injury the following year.
Now retired, former Pacers star Danny Granger was an incredible force for the franchise especially in the 2009 season where he became an All-Star for the first time and won the award of Most Improved Player of the Year. Granger averaged a career-best 25.8 points during the 2009 season which was the fifth-highest scoring average this season. Not only that, but he also became the first player in NBA history to lift his scoring average at least 5 points per game for three consecutive seasons in a row.
Unfortunately for Granger, this would be the peak of his powers with the star suffering multiple injuries for the rest of his career including a torn plantar fascia in his right foot in the 2010 season. The end of his time at Indiana followed shortly after with continuing injuries stopping Granger from playing many games on the court.
Paul George’s 2013 season was a massive breakout season for the now Oklahoma City Thunder star. It would be the first of his six All-Star appearances and be the season where he finishes as the Most Improved Player of the Year. George averaged career highs of 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists which made the choice of the award obvious. He was also the only player in the league with at least 140 steals and 50 blocks for the season.
However, the following year in the off-season, Paul George, unfortunately, suffered a compound fracture of both bones in his lower right leg. The injury occurred when he landed awkwardly after fouling James Harden in a Los Angeles scrimmage match. This left George needing surgery and ending his season and the hopes of a Pacers Finals appearance.
Victor Oladipo won the 2017-2018 Most Improved Player of the Year award becoming the fifth Pacers player to win the award. Oladipo averaged 23.1 points per game which was the ninth highest average in the league. This was a massive improvement from his 15.9 points per game average from the season earlier.
This season, Oladipo had gone from strength to strength with the chance of leading the Pacers towards a potential Eastern Conference Final appearance. The injury that he has just suffered makes it very hard for the Pacers to do any real damage come the postseason if they are there.
It’s a tough situation for Indiana considering how almost anyone could win in the East with there being no LeBron James in the conference for the first time in a long time. There sure seems to be a curse over the Indian Pacers with their specific award winners, surely we won’t see the same happen to yet another Most Improved Player from the Pacers.