As a fan of the Indiana Pacers, I knew this day was coming, but I wasn’t ready.
Paul George made it official, he wants out of Indianapolis. He wants to head back home to Southern California and play for the Los Angeles Lakers. Pacers new general manager Kevin Pritchard has a huge issue on his mind. Do they let him play next season, hope he makes the All-NBA team, so they could offer him much more money than any other team, or do they trade him now for some picks and/or another established star?
In 2010, Pritchard lost his job in Portland for a few dumb moves (and drafting Greg Oden over Kevin Durant). I’m sure he assumed a day when he needs to figure out the George problem would come, but probably didn’t think the news of George wanting out of town would leak before the 2017 NBA Draft.
The Pacers made a favorable move last week when they dropped the injured Rodney Stuckey and re-signed Lance Stephenson to a three-year deal.
Stephenson had a fairly acrimonious end to his career in Indiana a few years. He went on to sign a deal with Charlotte as a free agent. He struggled away from Indiana and even found himself bouncing around the league this year.
We still don’t really know what happened to the Pacers during the 2013-14 season. Some people pointed the finger at Stephenson, some at the Hibbert for being ‘soft’ and Paul George even got some blame. Team president Larry Bird wouldn’t have brought Stephenson back if he was to blame or maybe the ‘troublemaker’ is no longer on the team.
NBA All-Star Weekend is a fun time for NBA players to bask in their fame and rub elbows with celebrities. The game itself is usually high-scoring, but doesn’t get competitive until the fourth quarter, if it is close at all.
Some may even say the highlight of the weekend is the skills competitions that take place on Saturday night. The Slam Dunk competition has a few names in it, but nothing like the stars that would enter in its golden era. The three-point competition is probably my favorite competition of the night since there’s rarely ever something new tried in the dunk contest these days.
We list the betting odds for the All-Star Game MVP, Dunk Contest, Three-Point Competition, Rising Stars Game MVP and Skills competition winners. We also pick some winners for the prop bets.
The Indiana Pacers have won four-straight games after defeating their former head coach at Orlando 98-88. They are now 26-22 and sit as the sixth-best team in the Eastern Conference.
The Pacers started out the year with a starting five of Paul George, Myles Turner, Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young and Monta Ellis. The lineup didn’t change much the first two months, but Ellis went down with an injury. Glenn Robinson III took over his spot in the starting rotation and flourished in that role.
The Pacers eventually went on a losing skid with Robinson in the starting five, so Indiana turned to C.J. Miles. He has done well in the past when leaned on to start games. He has done the job during their winning streak.
Do the Pacers finally have a starting lineup set in stone going forward?
George only made one trip to the free throw line the entire game. He only averages 4.3 free throw attempts per game, which is pretty low for a star player.
In regards to the Pacers not getting calls, he said, “Ever since I’ve been playing, ever since I’ve been in this jersey we’ve fought this battle. Maybe the league has teams they like so they can give them the benefit of the doubt. We’re the little brother of the league. We’re definitely the little brother of the league.”
Does George have a case or is he just mad the Pacers have lost three-straight games?
I’ve been an Indiana Pacers fan as long as I can remember. It was great during the Reggie Miller years, but after the ‘Malice at the Palace’, it became really difficult. Not only is your favorite team look at as ‘thugs’, but the years after it was just a mess.
After years of drafting ‘high character’ guys and signing ‘safe’ players, things finally turned around for the Pacers when they were lucky enough to draft Roy Hibbert, Paul George and Lance Stephenson. Things didn’t work out with Lance in the long-term, but there was hope for George and Hibbert to be a part of the team for a long time.