Southeast Notes: Oladipo, Vucevic, Collins, Hutchison

Victor Oladipo‘s defense is an underrated component of why the Heat targeted him in a trade with the Rockets, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Players guarded by Oladipo are shooting just 40.5% this season, far under their normal 46% rate. That ranks second in the league among shooting guards. Among Miami’s current backcourt, the defensive rates are 43.3% for Tyler Herro, 43.8% for Goran Dragic and 45.8% for Kendrick Nunn.

Oladipo is still a productive scorer, averaging 20.3 PPG this season, but his efficiency and three-point shooting have fallen off from his peak years. He also hasn’t played on back-to-back nights yet this season.

“Houston wasn’t the best situation for him,” a Western Conference scout told Jackson. “He had moments where he played very, very well, and I think with more veteran players around him, he will be fine. I’m not so sure how much he wanted to make it work in Houston. This is what Victor has talked about over a year, going to Miami. There will be a lot more buy-in, a lot more want-to. This is what he wanted. He had no three-point shooting around him in Houston. He’ll have that in Miami, at least guys who should be that. Opposing teams will say Oladipo is not the same until he scorches somebody.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Before making his debut with the Bulls Saturday night, Nikola Vucevic offered an emotional message to Orlando, where he spent the past nine years, relays Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “Obviously, it meant a lot to me,” the All-Star center said. “Like I said, I came there as a kid and left as a man. I guess you guys know the answer with my reaction. Leaving that place after so many years obviously was hard.” Vucevic said he knew the Magic were shopping him and he wasn’t surprised when the deal with Chicago was announced.
  • Hawks forward John Collins was “super-duper relieved” to remain with the team through the trade deadline, according to Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Collins’ future has been up for speculation since he failed to reach an extension during the offseason, and he’s now on the way to becoming a restricted free agent.
  • Wizards forward Chandler Hutchison, who was acquired from the Bulls on Thursday, won’t play for his new team until he participates in a full practice, tweets Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. Chicago had been listing Hutchison as out indefinitely for personal reasons, and he hasn’t been in a game since February 5. However, he told Wallace his conditioning is “off the charts.”
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