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You can see how well Victor Oladipo is playing. You may not see how well Oladipo is leading.

More than any other player, Oladipo has been the catalyst for the Pacers’ early-season success, the main reason they have been better (10-8) than almost anyone outside their locker room anticipated. One of the NBA’s best shooting guards up to this point, Oladipo is averaging 22.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.7 assists, while shooting 45.8 percent from the field.

OIadipo is filling up the stat sheet at both ends of the floor. He had seven steals Monday night against the Magic. His defense was a major reason Miami shooting guard Dion Waiters was held scoreless Sunday, shooting 0 for 10 from the field.  Last week against the Pistons, Oladipo had a career-high 15 rebounds.

Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes, Oladipo’s leadership has become an important part of the team’s fabric. His coach, Nate McMillan, sees it. His teammates see it. Figuring out the best way to lead can be one of the most difficult obstacles for players who want to be great. But Oladipo seems to be figuring it out – quickly.

“He’s just been fun to coach,” said McMillan, a former NBA guard who was known for his leadership as a player. “He absorbs everything that you tell him. He’s still a young guy who wants to learn. I’ve had more film sessions with him than I’ve had, really with any player. It’s because he wants to get better. He wants to improve. He’s showing the potential that he has.”

McMillan has only coached Oladipo for 18 games, but has already learned Oladipo is thirsty for greatness. That is why Oladipo often requests to study film with McMillan. They exchange ideas. They explore different ways for Oladipo to utilize his many talents, both offensively and defensively.

This is not Oladipo trying to win McMillan’s favor. This is Oladipo trying to win, period.

“I wanted to build that relationship, build that trust with him on the court, being able to see what he sees,” said Oladipo.  “He played the game before. It’s always great to watch film with the head coach, because you see what he sees, and he’s kind of got to see what you see to be on the same page.”

Oladipo has been on the same page with both coaches and teammates, sensing the right time to speak up. He did that with Myles Turner, who struggled through a difficult 3 for 13 shooting night against the Pistons. During that game, McMillan did not play Turner for the final 16 minutes.

Turner was happy the Pacers won, but down about his own performance. The next day, Oladipo showed up at Turner’s house to offer encouragement. Remember that the players voted Turner and Thaddeus Young team captains before the season. Remember that Turner has been with the Pacers longer than Oladipo.

These are the kinds of delicate situations that teams must handle during a long season. But 25-year-old Oladipo was confident that visiting Turner at his home was the right thing to do, and Turner respected Oladipo enough to take his message in a positive way.

The next night in Miami, Turner bounced back with his best game of the season with 25 points, seven rebounds, four blocks and four assists. Turner said there was no doubt that Oladipo’s house call helped. The way Turner sees it, Oladipo does not want to soar alone. He wants his teammates to soar with him.

“It’s big-time when you have someone in your corner like that,” said Turner after Monday night’s game. “Vic’s playing well. A lot of guys would just be cool with that, like, ‘I’m getting mine, this is my team, yada-yada.’ But Vic knows this is a collective effort. He came over to lift my spirits back up. It’s been hard after the concussion, trying to get the rhythm back, just playing through, not being where I want to be. (But) I came out and had a statement game. Even tonight, I came out and had the same mindset. I know I’m capable of playing the way I did in Miami night in and night out. It’s just a question of doing it.”

There is early-season buzz about Oladipo possibly being named an All-Star this season. He has already been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week once.

“Vic IS an All-Star,” said Turner emphatically. “He has proven it.”

But Oladipo says individual accolades are not driving him.

“I can’t really control that,” Oladipo said. “I can control what I bring to the game every night. That’s all I’m concerned about, winning basketball games.

“I’m having fun here, playing with these guys. It’s been a great time so far. We’ve got a lot of room to get better. We've still got to grow, still got to get better individually and collectively.”

Asked about his leadership approach, Oladipo said he has played it by instinct.

“Whatever it takes,” said Oladipo. “Lead by example, say what I need to say, and make sure we get the job done.

“Every night I put on this uniform, put on these shoes, and go out and play with these guys, that competitive juice is running through my veins. No matter what happens, ups and downs, wins and losses, we got to stay together. We got to keep getting better. We do that, the sky’s the limit.”

Oladipo took great pleasure in playing Monday night’s game in front of former Indiana coach Tom Crean, who has moved to Florida and was watching in the stands. Oladipo said Crean taught him plenty about leadership at Indiana.

“He’ll always be my coach,” said Oladipo. “He’ll always be a father figure to me. He believed in me before anyone else did. That means a lot to me, as an individual and as a man. My relationship with him is unlike any other. I‘m not the only player he’s had that will say that. He’s a great man. He’s going to be all right in the future. He’s happy right now, which is huge. As long as he’s happy, I’m happy.”

Right now, everyone in Indiana seems happy with Oladipo. He feels the same way about being back in the state where he has enjoyed his greatest success.

“I’m really glad to be a Pacer,” said Oladipo. “It feels good to be home. I’m striving for greatness.”

So far, Oladipo is on the right track.

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IndyStar Pacers Insider Clifton Brown and Jim Ayello talk about the Indiana Pacers' start to the season and the emergence of Domantas Sabonis. Matthew Glenesk / IndyStar

Follow IndyStar sports writer Clifton Brown on Twitter @CliftonGBrown.

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