With Lowry coming off bench, is Oladipo the odd man out?

Mar 21, 2023 - 5:48 PM
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Victor Oladipo hasn't played in two of the Miami Heat’s last three games. And the one game he checked in was the frustrating March 18 loss to the Chicago Bulls, in which Kyle Lowry didn’t play.

Now, Lowry is questionable for tomorrow’s game against the New York Knicks. That leaves open the possibility of whether Oladipo plays. With Lowry now playing a bench role since his return, has Erik Spoelstra decided to move Oladipo out of the rotation?

Oladipo found himself in a similar situation about a year ago. After making his season debut March 7, 2022 and playing five more games — he rested during some back-to-backs — Oladipo fell out of the rotation. In the Heat’s final six regular season games, Oladipo only played twice — one was an April 3 road game at the Toronto Raptors in which Jimmy Butler, P.J. Tucker and Gabe Vincent all sat. The other was the season finale, when Oladipo poured in 40 points.

At the time, it appeared that the Heat decided they tried to shoehorn Oladipo into the rotation too late into the season. And Oladipo didn’t play in the Heat’s first three first-round playoff games against the Atlanta Hawks. But a hamstring injury to Lowry gave Oladipo another chance. From that moment onward, Oladipo became an integral part of the playoff rotation.

Now at this moment in the season, Lowry has returned from knee soreness that kept him out more than a month. Lowry’s injury in the 2022 playoffs gave Oladipo a chance to get back in the rotation, and Lowry’s return earlier this month may have put Oladipo out of the rotation. But as we saw, things can change quickly.

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