Recapping the regular season for Hoosiers in the NBA

  • 04/16/2015 10:37 am in

The NBA’s regular season is complete and just one of the four Hoosiers currently in the league, Eric Gordon, is on a playoff team. Here’s a look at how Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, Gordon and Noah Vonleh fared this season:

· Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
Stats (72 games): 17.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.7 steals in 35.7 minutes per game

Notes: Oladipo had an injury setback early in the season, but recovered nicely for a very solid sophomore season in the NBA. His scoring average was up more than four points per game and his shooting percentage was up as well – although there’s plenty of work to do in terms of improving efficiency. In Oladipo and Elfrid Payton, the Magic have one of the more intriguing young backcourts in the league, but more changes are coming for this franchise in the offseason as Jacque Vaughn was let go in-season and the team has yet to hire a permanent replacement.

Quotable: “This is temporary. So that’s motivation in itself. This year — we just need to use it as fuel and fire and go out and work this summer, and this summer needs to be all about winning. We need to come back and have that mentality to do whatever it takes to win.” – Oladipo after Orlando’s final regular season game.

· Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets
Stats (62 games): 7.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists in 24 minutes per game

Notes: Zeller played in just one game after March 9 due to a right shoulder injury and the Hornets were one of the league’s biggest disappointments. After a surprising run to the 2014 NBA playoffs, the Hornets looked like a top five or six team in the Eastern conference on paper, but finished a dismal 33-49. Like Oladipo, Zeller’s numbers improved in his second season, but he too has work to do from an efficiency standpoint as he shot just 46 percent from the field.

Quotable: “People are always shouting ‘Go Heels!’ at me from across the street and asking Tyler about being an Indiana Hoosier. Am I saying that I’ve signed Celtics jerseys with ‘Tyler Zeller’ when I’ve been approached by a fan who thinks I’m my brother? Not gonna say for sure. Is it true there are Hoosier hats out there with Tyler’s best attempt at my signature on them? Again, no comment.” – Zeller in a piece for The Players Tribune.

· Eric Gordon, New Orleans Pelicans
Stats (61 games): 13.4 points, 3.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds in 33.1 minutes per game

Notes: After a difficult start to the season in which named him to the NBA’s “all-atrocious” team, Gordon rebounded nicely and helped lead the Pelicans to the playoffs. He averaged better than 15 points in April and hit 48 percent of his 3s over the last 10 regular season games. Now Gordon and the Pelicans get the difficult task of taking on Golden State in the first round of the playoffs.

Quotable: “I’ve always been comfortable here, but this season was great. I’ve always just wanted to win. In the past there have been weird situations and things can get even better.” – Gordon to

· Noah Vonleh, Charlotte Hornets
Stats (25 games): 3.3 points, 3.4 rebounds in 10.4 minutes per game

Notes: Injuries to Al Jefferson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Zeller led to increased playing time in the final month of the season for Vonleh, who averaged 5.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in April. Most of his rookie season, however, was spent either on the bench or behind the bench as he was often inactive for games despite being healthy. His best performance as a rookie was a 16 point, 12 rebound performance in a blowout loss to Detroit on April 12.

Quotable: “I was the only lottery pick that went to a playoff team, so I knew they already had their guys set and they were bringing veteran guys to help them make a bigger playoff push,” said Vonleh. “I knew I was going to be the young guy on the roster and I knew I was going to have to fight for my minutes. The (preseason) sports hernia injury put me behind, so that was a pretty tough hit.” – Vonleh to The Charlotte Post.

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  • Gregory Spera

    Was really glad to see Eric Gordon rebuild his game, after all the injuries, and actually finish third in the league in three point shooting percentage, just ahead of Stephen Curry, and help the Pelicans make the playoffs.

  • BMusic

    Love that quote from Cody. That’s a guy I would want as a teammate.

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    LOL Cody!

    Here’s the weird thing: This whole “sign someone else’s name” thing has been around IU (and probably every place else) **forever**. Anyone here old enough to remember Greg Graham’s Senior Night speech? The one where he joked about being mistaken for Calbert Cheaney… and signing Calbert’s name anyway just so the fans wouldn’t be disappointed?

    It happens everywhere, but it’s still funny as hell. There’s a Liam Neeson interview clip on YouTube where he tells Conan O’Brian about the time some older fans – two of which were WWII veterans – begged him for autographs, then complimented him on “The English Patient” while he was signing. Which forced him to do a last second switch to “Ralph Fiennes”. 😀

  • hoosier93

    He’s a perfect example as to what injuries will do to a young guys career. He could have been a 20+ ppg type guy. Now just a guy that needs to be a 3 and D type. Just glad he is finally healthy and in the playoffs. And it doesn’t hurt being on the team of a once in a lifetime talent like The Brow.

  • inLinE6

    Nice summary as always. We just need to send a few more folks there in the coming years, and I do see that potential.

  • unclekerfuffle

    Love the picture.
    Almost brings tears to my eyes.

  • SCHoosier

    Appreciate this update. Maybe when time permits we can also get some info on how Wat-Hulls-will and others have done the past season. Tried to watch Vic and Cody during the season. Zeller is solid..did better when Moe Williams took over the point. Vic is fun to watch..but his shooting efficiency leaves much to be desired..especially the 3 pt shot. VO seems to have the green light and he uses it..gotta believe there are some on the team who think those shots should go somewhere else? Vic will be the face of that franchise though..great all around player who still hasn’t reached his potential.

  • SilentBob

    I followed the Magic pretty tightly this year as I owned Vic in the first NBA fantasy league I’ve ever participated in. I doubt many players think shots should have gone elsewhere as they lack any kind of consistent performer outside of their center whose name I never spell right. I believe the magics win percentage and Vic’s output went up after the switch in coaches but his efficiency tanked.

    There was a two month stretch before Vaughns firing when Vic was hitting the three at around 41% and an overall FG% hovering around 47 or 48% which is terrific for a young shooting guard. After the switch his minutes and usage went up as the Magic were bombarded with back to back games. So I think you can credit some of those efficiency ails to tired legs. But there is no question they have some chemistry issues to buffer out between Payton, Oladipo, and their center. I however was greatly impressed by his increased FT% this season. That will be key for a guard who isn’t a pure scorer. Funny side note though it’s probably his off ball defense that could use the most tuning this offseason. I don’t know if it was a lack of a quality rim protector or what, but anytime the ball went to the paint Vic left a football field in between he and his man usually resulting in wide open threes.