The season was lost from the start with Paul George breaking his leg at US Basketball Camp. Take any team’s best player for an entire season (well 76 games) and they will struggle to compete. The Pacers missed the playoffs. The bulk of the offense came from George Hill and CJ Miles. They received down years from Roy Hibbert and David West. It was a season for assessment because the previous Conference Finals Pacers squad had reached their limit.
Additions: Monta Ellis, Jordan Hill, Myles Turner, Joseph Young
Subtractions: Roy Hibbert, David West, CJ Watson
The front office decided to let David West and Roy Hibbert move on to other opportunities and brought in Monta Ellis and Jordan Hill, two guys who can get up and down the court. They also drafted bigman Myles Turner and Joseph Young. The Pacers are in a shift of style of play. Instead of the half court sets, which are all you can really do with Hibbert, they are going to push the pace, pun intended.
The offense with start with Monta Ellis (and Paul George). Last year they relied too heavily on George Hill and CJ Miles, this year they will have Monta Ellis, George, and George Hill. Monta’ ability to push the ball and create his own shot should help the spacing for the George’s. A career 19 points per game scorere, Monta has improved his shooting percentages the past couple of seasons with Dallas. It will take some time to adapt to new teammates but Monta has played for 3 teams in his career including joining his 3rd team in 4 years.
Jordan Hill has always been a bench player in his 8 seasons in the league. Last year he saw his first season of starter minutes (26.8 per) and put up some respectable numbers for a very bad Laker’s team. His PER 36 actually decreased but I attribute that to having to do too much. With the Pacers, Jordan Hill can go back to defense and rebounding. He had some bad ORtg and DRtg’s last season. The Pacers hope he can get back to putting up 1.5 blocks and 13 rebounds PER 36. This is may be his last chance to play starter minutes before the decline takes place and the big men revert to bench/locker room guys.
Myles Turner will take time to develop into his body. He has great size for an NBA big man and should fit in now with the faster style with his youth. This is one of the better situations for a rookie because he will develop into his body as the team develops and builds around him. They are expecting him to become a defensive presence and rim protector for them as he grows as he is only 19 years old. It is very hard finding quality.
Most exciting player to watch: Paul George
Paul was on the brink of becoming a super star. We know Lebron already included him into the secret club but we only saw a glimpse of Paul George’s stardom before he was taken away from us. He is fully recovered this season and the Pacers will need him to get back to that level if they have any hopes of contending, or even making the playoffs. This will be a new style of basketball with a lot more guards and bigs who can get up and down the court. We already heard the dissatisfaction with the possibility for George to play the four but that is the way the NBA is going and the Pacers are following trends.
This year is going to take a lot of adjustments from everyone, from coaching to the players. Moving on from their previous style with Hibbert and West, the Pacers are going to focus more on the guards for spacing with Monta Ellis being able to create his own shot. The development of Myles Turner will be something to watch. The main reason to turn into Pacer games will be to see the recovery and return to greatness for Paul George. I kept this prediction conservative. They could win anywhere from 50 to 30 games for me and it all depends on Paul George and Monta Ellis.
Check out some other Pacer’s previews: