Victor Oladipo secures the 2017-18 Most Improved Player award

2018 NBA Awards - Inside

After an incredible breakout year for the Indiana Pacers, Victor Oladipo was rewarded by being named as the 2017-18 Most Improved Player.

He beat off competition from Houston Rockets center Clint Capela and Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie to scoop the prize.

"I first would like to thank the voters," said Oladipo. "They follow the NBA closely, they have difficult choices to make and I appreciate that they recognised me for this.

"I want to thank the Indiana Pacers' organisation for believing in me and what we could accomplish this past season.

"My teammates, coaches, training staff, I can't thank enough for making me a better player from the first day I arrived. We had a special group that I was proud to be a part of every day.

"I share this with the Pacers, the City of Indianapolis and the State of Indiana. The support I received from everyone last season meant so much to myself and my family.

"An individual may win an award, but it is shared with many because they all had a part. This is only the beginning for us. The best is yet to come."

Proving doubters wrong

The 26-year-old was a revelation after he was acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder in the trade that sent Paul George in the opposite direction.

When that deal was concluded almost 12 months ago, the Pacers were heavily criticised for giving up an All-Star for a player who had not proven himself in the league yet.

But Oladipo made the critics eat humble pie as he morphed into a star in Indiana and enjoyed a career year.

The shooting guard averaged career-highs across the board with 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and led the league in steals with 2.4 per game.

Interestingly, the only other player in the league to post at least 20 points and two steals a game was George.

Victor's displays deservedly earned him his first All-Star selection as he took over from PG13 as the face of the Pacers franchise.

He led the team to the playoffs with the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and a 48-34 record - four more wins than the previous season.

Oladipo also translated his excellent form into the postseason as he helped Indy push the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the opening round.

Indiana Pacers v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game One

The Cavs struggled to cope with the former number two overall pick as he averaged 22.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists in the series.

After proving that he can be a leader of a team, the next challenge for the former Orlando Magic man will be to deliver on a consistent basis and show that this wasn't a fluke.

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