Guard Victor Oladipo exuded optimism about the Houston Rockets after his franchise debut, presenting quite a contrast to James Harden’s final comments as a member of the franchise.
“I know that better days are ahead for the Houston Rockets, and I’m looking forward to being a part of those special days,” Oladipo said after his 32-point, nine-assist performance in a 125-120 road loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.
It was the second-highest-scoring debut in franchise history, behind Harden’s 37-point performance in the 2012-13 season opener.
𝐁𝐈𝐆 debut for @VicOladipo! 🚀 pic.twitter.com/OXgJzMiw6V
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) January 19, 2021
Oladipo, a two-time All-Star for the Indiana Pacers whose career was interrupted by a ruptured quadriceps tendon suffered in January 2019, was acquired by the Rockets in last week’s four-team blockbuster trade that sent Harden to the Brooklyn Nets.
Harden was aware that a deal was likely near when he declared that the Rockets “just aren’t good enough” and could not be “fixed” in what amounted to a farewell speech after a lopsided loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, his last game in a Rockets uniform.
Oladipo practiced with the Rockets for the first time Sunday and played out of position at point guard against the Bulls because John Wall missed his third consecutive game with a sore knee. Oladipo had four of his seven turnovers in the first quarter, which ended with the Rockets trailing by 12 points.