Paul George has been the center of this team.
Against all odds, the Indiana Pacers are holding the third seed in the Eastern Conference after the All-Star Break. However, there are a few things that need to be addressed for the team to make a serious push towards the NBA Finals.
The Pacers currently hold a record of 32-21, despite the absence of one of their best players, Danny Granger. They have held on without him thanks to one of the best defenses in the league. Other players have stepped up as well, helping ease the burden of losing their top scorer.
Still, this team is not without its weaknesses. There are some big issues that need to be looked at by head coach Frank Vogel, and they only have a few more months to fix them.
Here are the five biggest questions the Pacers are facing after All-Star weekend.
Granger was the top scorer for the Pacers last year.
The Pacers' offense has struggled this season. This might have something to do with the absence of Danny Granger, their top scorer last season.
Granger has yet to play during the regular season. He injured his knee before the season started, but according to ESPN.com, Granger is expected to return soon. Many expected him to return against the Charlotte Bobcats, but that was not the case.
The big question is how quickly Granger should get back out on the floor. He will obviously start with limited minutes off of the bench, but it is unsure when they will bring him back into the starting lineup.
Vogel will need to be very careful in this situation. The Pacers offense has been a bit disappointing, and Granger can provide some solid scoring.
Whatever happens, the Pacers will need to treat his return delicately, yet effectively.
George's numbers might drop when Granger comes back.
Paul George has become the Pacers' best scoring option. He has accepted the challenge without Granger on the court, and has stepped up.
The numbers for George have been quite impressive this year. He's averaging 17.6 points per game and shooting 42.2 percent from the floor.
But the return of Granger will cause a big shift in how the offense runs. This could mean less shots taken by George, and may cause friction between the two scorers.
The chemistry may take some time for the two to work out, but it will likely be sorted out in the next couple of months. If not, the team could face a rough stretch of games.
Bench scoring has been an issue for the Pacers.
Teams that make deep runs in the playoffs tend to have solid role players on the bench. So far, the Pacers are struggling to find one.
The bench for the Pacers is averaging 29.8 points per game. This puts Indiana at 20th in the NBA in bench scoring. While that's not an absolutely terrible number, being in the bottom third of the league in any category isn't good.
There are a few solid players on the bench, but these guys will need to step up before the playoffs start. Tyler Hansbrough proved he could be a solid player, scoring 19 points in his start against the Bobcats. Gerald Green proved to be a tremendous athlete, but he is still developing as an efficient scorer.
Overall, the bench needs to develop a bit more. There are a lot of young guys on the team, and they will need to work on developing their skills.
Roy Hibbert hasn't done well on offense this season.
Roy Hibbert signed a big contract with the Pacers during the offseason. So far, he hasn't lived up to that $58 million deal.
There has been nothing wrong with Hibbert on defense. In fact, he's been spectacular. According to Basketball-Reference.com, his defensive rating of 96.0 is the second best in the NBA.
Unfortunately, Hibbert's offense hasn't been nearly as impressive. He's averaging only 10 points per game and shooting a rough 41.4 percent from the field. This is by far the least efficient Hibbert has ever been in the paint, and it has hurt the team quite a bit.
If Hibbert wants to live up to his big contract, he is going to have to step up offensively. He needs to go back to shooting nearly 50 percent from the field, and simply dominating opponents while posting up.
A more efficient Hibbert on offense would make this team significantly better. If Indiana can beat the Heat without Hibbert's offense, imagine how far the Pacers could make it in the playoffs with it.
Frank Vogel has done a terrific job yet again.
The Miami Heat will clearly take the top spot in the East this year. The other seven playoffs spots are wide open for the rest of the conference.
With this young and talented team, the Pacers are looking at the second seed. They are only 1.5 games behind the New York Knicks for the spot.
The Knicks are a very talented team with players like Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith. Luckily for the Pacers, the Knicks tend to become very inconsistent by the end of the season. After an exciting stretch in the middle of the season last year, they began to quickly come back down to earth.
The Pacers will only get better with the return of Granger. This will give the team more firepower on offense, as well as give Lance Stephenson the opportunity to be productive off of the bench.
With 29 games remaining, the Pacers have a legitimate chance to take the second seed in the East. If they do so, the Heat may have a big matchup in the Conference Finals at the end of the year.