Paul George went from a ‘clean-cut NBA future star’ to a guy impregnating strippers and dressing like Eddie Murphy circa 1983.
Roy Hibbert went from Defensive Player of the Year shoo-in to a guy who put up the same NBA numbers I do.
Lance Stephenson went from someone who was trying his hardest to earn respect to doing anything possible to remove the respect he earned.
How will the Pacers do without George and Stephenson?
We will be posting a team preview for every team up until the start of the regular season.
Here is the 2014-15 NBA season preview for the Indiana Pacers.
2013-14 Win/Loss Record: 56-26
Key Additions: SG C.J. Miles, PG Rodney Stuckey, PF Arinze Onauaku, SF Damjan Rudez, SF C.J. Fair, PF Shayne Whittington, SF Chris Singleton & Adonis Thomas
Key Losses: SF Paul George (for the season), SG Lance Stephenson, SG Evan Turner, SF Rasual Butler & C Andrew Bynum
Projected Starters: Roy Hibbert, David West, C.J. Miles, Rodney Stuckey & George Hill
Fantasy Sleeper: PG George Hill – After Lance Stephenson made the leap into the starting lineup, Hill took a backseat to him. Stephenson would usually bring the ball up the court and become the primary facilitator. Hill would still stay in the game, but would basically be the fourth or fifth scoring option. Stephenson is gone and Paul George is out this year, so Hill will be a bigger part of the offense. The Pacers perimeter shooting will be minimal, but Hill will be taking a lot of those shots. The situation calls for him to have his best statistical year of his career. It’s up to him now.
Team Analysis: As you may already know, I’m a huge Pacers fan. I started this site at the same time they had a roster full of white guys (and back when Adam Morrison was back crying in college). I was really looking forward to this season and thought they had a shot at a ring…then Paul George’s leg snapped during a Team USA scrimmage. The hopes of a 2014-15 ring disappeared as he was getting carted off.
If George’s injury occurred a few weeks prior, Indiana could have throw a money truck at Lance Stephenson. He signed with Charlotte for roughly the same money, but Charlotte got a team option. They didn’t have any options left, but did their best by signing Rodney Stuckey with some of the injury money they recouped.
Stephenson and George were rumored to be the main cause of Indiana’s chemistry implosion. Roy Hibbert was a shell of himself and rumors began to circulate that there was a rift between George and himself. It was said they were allegedly having an issue over a girl. This caused Hibbert, George and George Hill to go fishing together. If the rumor wasn’t true, why did they pose for this awkward photo?
“Maybe if we stand awkwardly next to each other with this tiny ass fish, people will think we’re cool.”
There had to be something to it.
The Pacers roughly have the same squad minus Stephenson and George (Indiana’s best perimeter shooters). I expect the offense to run through David West and Roy Hibbert. Newcomers C.J. Miles and Rodney Stuckey will be an interesting wrinkle. Both are good well-rounded players that can play on both ends of the court.
Indiana isn’t expected to do a lot this season. Vegas has their over/under set at 33 wins. I actually think they will sneak into the playoffs as the 8th seed. The East has improved, but somewhere around 38 wins will still get you that last spot. They probably should just completely tank to get a nice draft pick, but that’s not in Larry Bird’s DNA. They have yet to tank a season since he’s been there.
2014-15 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 33.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2014-15 Projected Win/Loss Record: 38-44 (8th in Eastern Conference)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.