Victor Oladipo Follows in James Harden’s Footsteps After Phenomenal Rockets Debut

Published 01/18/2021, 11:42 PM EST
Jan 18, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Houston Rockets guard Victor Oladipo (7) shoots against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports


The Houston Rockets may have lost tonight, but there is certainly hope for the rest of the season. After they traded away James Harden, they lacked a scorer of his caliber in the lineup. But tonight, their new trade acquisition, Victor Oladipo, showed that he can be that player for the Rockets.

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On his debut tonight, he scored 32 points, while shooting 13-23 from the field and 4-9 from three. This is the second-highest score by a debutant in Rockets history. The first was Harden himself, and this shows how Oladipo is going to fit the Rockets system like a glove. Along with 32 points, he also grabbed five rebounds and nine assists.

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While Oladipo isn’t an accomplished scorer like Harden, he is a lot better on the defensive end than Harden. Not only is he a menace on the ball, but off the ball as well. With his exceptional game-reading skills, he can grab passing lane steals and break down an offense.

Can Victor Oladipo lead the Rockets to the playoffs?

They may have lost today, but Oladipo has promised Rockets fans that it is only upwards from here. He said, “I know that better days are ahead for the Houston Rockets, and I’m looking forward to being a part of those special days.”

The team is rebuilding now, but they would still be aiming to make the playoffs and cause some upsets. With a talented squad like theirs, they should be able to do so, but they need to stay injury-free.

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Their backcourt of John Wall and Oladipo has the potential to be one of the best in the league. When Wall returns from his injury, this duo can cause some fireworks with their explosiveness, and also their creativity. They have Christian Wood, who is already looking like a frontrunner for the Most Improved Player award. If he can keep his form going, this can be an exciting Big 3 for the Rockets.

Jan 2, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; John Wall #1 of the Houston Rockets controls the ball against Buddy Hield #24 of the Sacramento Kings during the fourth quarter of a game at Toyota Center on January 02, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Mandatory Credit: Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets also received a lot of picks from the Harden trade and a $10 million trade exception. These two things combined, along with a player like PJ Tucker or Eric Gordon, can help the Rockets improve their depth, and build a solid team for the playoffs. Despite losing Harden, this definitely promises to be an exciting season for Rockets fans.

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Aaron Mathew

1549 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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