The Indiana Pacers had a whirlwind of an offseason that gave fans a whole new roster to study and cheer for.
Obviously, the biggest splash of the summer was when the Pacers traded star forward Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. The departure of George leaves the Pacers with a void to fill.
Although Paul George was never seen as a true leader in Indiana, when it came down to needing a bucket in crunch time, he was the guy. It was not uncommon to see George lag up and down the court last season. The passion was simply not there. It was clear to fans, coaches, and teammates that he had checked out of Indiana early.
There are two Pacers who could fill the shoes of Paul George as the face of the Indiana Pacers. Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner both have a lot to prove this year and a chance to be the face of the organization. I strongly believe these two young talents have a chance to do something special for the city of Indianapolis in 2017-18.
Turner is now the Pacers longest-tenured player as he enters his third season with the blue and gold. Oladipo is in his fifth season in the NBA and first with Indiana. Although, he is highly thought of in the state of Indiana because of his roots back at Indiana University where he played his college basketball.
Both players have taken steps in the right direction this offseason. Victor Oladipo was recently quoted as saying “I’m just tired of being Mr. Nice Guy. I’m ready to make stuff happen” on the Hot97 radio show in New York. Would that excite you as a fan? He also stated that he is ready to be the “alpha dog” of this team. Oladipo has been working out all summer with the likes of Dwayne Wade, James Harden, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and Carmelo Anthony. This is also an exciting move by Oladipo if you are a Pacer fan.
Myles Turner has been improving himself by getting noticeably stronger. As he enters his third NBA season, Turner is ranked at #36 in ESPN’s preseason player rankings. The 2017-18 season provides Turner with the chance to claim himself a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team. As one of the best shot blockers in the league, Turner still has room to improve on the offensive end and in transition. Last year he was labeled as weak and soft, but look for him to shed those labels off.
I feel comfortable with either player as the Pacers leader. Even better, why not have both of them as leaders and alpha dogs? There is no problem with having two budding stars on the same team in today’s NBA. This team has enough talent to compete with anyone in the East. Snagging a playoff spot is not out of the question, and in all reality, it is also very plausible.
If you think the Pacers are better than the 32.5 win line that Vegas set a few weeks back, let us know what you think below!
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