The Indiana Pacers had a complete overhaul this summer, removing Roy Hibbert and saying sayonara to a disgruntled David West, who took $8 million a year less than he would have made in Indiana to play in San Antonio. To replace their starting frontcourt, the Pacers plan to move Paul George to Power Forward and then split the rest of the frontcourt minutes between Jordan Hill, Ian Mahinmi and Myles Turner. If that doesn’t fill you with confidence about the Pacers hopes then you’re probably a knowledgable NBA fan, because those players are trash. The backcourt, however, looks slightly more promising. George Hill, Monta Ellis and Rodney Stuckey are all proven NBA players and Joseph Young looked awesome for Oregon last season and was a steal at pick 43. All four of these players are combo guards and it will be extremely interesting to see how they are used by Frank Vogel.
Monta Ellis, though, is the most talented player that George has played with in years, but can play for himself at times, often jacking up unneccessary mid range jumpers early in the possession. I’m interested to see how he combines with George Hill, a player who plays tough defense and has the ability to be a second ball handler and a sharpshooter from the corner. This will hopefully allow Ellis to handle the ball as much as he needs and potentially get his points back into the 20s.
Even when Paul George was healthy he averaged 21.6 points per game, and Ellis has proven that he can average more than that. Ellis will be the key to this teams offense, especially if George struggles at Power Forward (although the early signs are good). If this team does struggle with picking up the pace, it will be interesting to see how Vogel adjusts, as this gameplan is the absolute opposite of the Pacers DNA. If Paul George has improved his ball handling and facilitation in the offseason and can prove an enormous mismatch, the Pacers should make the playoffs. However, I don’t see them getting homecourt in the East even if they have a clean of health, I don’t think their ceiling is higher than fringe playoff team.
Projected Record: 43-39
My Predicted Wins: 38-43
|2014||FGA Ratio||1||FTA Ratio||1|