The Indiana Pacers are rattling off another mediocre year with a similar cast to the one that has produced similar results in recent seasons. It does not look like the Pacers have playoff potential but anything is possible when you are in the East. Regardless, this team has neither the talent nor the chemistry to be taken seriously.
A smart organization would look to train its young talent, giving players experience for the future. But hey, this is Indiana. A place where the mention of Larry Bird's run as head of basketball operations makes fans cringe.
On January 22, TrueHoop reported that the Pacers' front office was not please with head coach Jim O'Brien, and rightfully so. O'Brien's unorthodox lineup switches and rotations has puzzled management as well as fans.
It looks like O'Brien may finally be recognizing that there might be a mild resolution to his stagnant lineup, announcing that he might soon be ready to move rookie forward Paul George into the rotation permanently, in place of Brandon Rush. If you haven't noticed George yet, you probably will soon.
The Pacers selected George (Fresno State) with the 10th pick in the 2010 draft, and George is finally being given the proper time to demonstrate and develop his skill-set.
As a player, the drawback of playing in the WAC, particularly for a team like Fresno, is that one's abilities might fly under the radar throughout the year(s), and more importantly, come draft time. This can lead to a diamond-in-the-rough scenario for teams that have done their homework. It seems the Pacers may have done something right in their scouting of George.
At 6'9”, George is more agile than the average forward of his size. His strengths include outside shooting, finishing off the dribble, solid body control and length on the boards. He is explosive, versatile and has yet to show any signs of a ceiling.
George's stats are quite impressive for a rookie, particularly given how many minutes he has been allotted. In just 14.9 MPG, George is averaging 6.6 points on 48.1 percent shooting, with 2.7 RPG along with a steal. Sound like a player that deserve a few more minutes, Jim?
It looks like George is about to get his chance.
Brandon Rush left Wednesday's game after just six minutes with an ankle sprain, leaving George to pick up the minutes. George had 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals in a loss against the Magic. George was fearless going to the rack on Dwight Howard to draw a foul, an intangible rarely seen in a rookie.
George has star potential and if he can continue his strong play he will likely continue to see a healthy number of minutes. The Pacers have already declared O'Briens job safe for the rest of the season, but a new regime is likely and may be exactly what George needs to become a centerpiece of the Pacers' offense.
George has an edge to his game that hasn't been seen in Indiana for quite some time and his potential for supplying excitement could be enough to put a few extra fans in the seats. As the Pacers continue to hope Danny Granger rids himself of his all-to-often inconsistencies, George may come in and steal some of the spotlight (along with the Pacers dependency on Granger).
Hang in there, Pacers fans, you may have just found your building block.