The Indiana Pacers totally revamped their entire process throughout the course of the 2017 NBA offseason and now aim to energize a fan-base that may have lost hope.
The rebuild started with the resignation of Indiana basketball legend Larry Bird stepping down as President of Basketball Operations and Kevin Pritchard stepping in as the new President. Pritchard added Chad Buchanan to the organization as the Pacers new GM in late July.
Everyone is now past the Paul George saga and his transport to the Oklahoma City Thunder to join Russell Westbrook and company. The Indiana Pacers did not get as raw of a deal as everyone around the league likes to think.
One player, Paul George, who had a questionable effort every night and had already perked up over the chance at going to Los Angeles in free agency, for two young, talented, high effort players under contract for years to come. George was going to be here for one more year, give piss poor effort, complain about teammates to the media, and pout when he underachieved. Seems like a simple decision.
Victor Oladipo is one of the most high-energy and high-effort players in the league today. He is the perfect blue-collar player for Pacer fans to watch night-in-night-out. Last season Oladipo was stuck behind Russell Westbrook, the leagues leading iso-scoring player. He had half of the opportunity in Oklahoma City that he will have in Indiana.
Just for a comparison, Paul George was worth 9.72 wins according to ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus, on a Pacer team that was 42-40 in the East. Keep in mind that Paul George was the go-to scorer almost each and every time down the court. Oladipo on the other hand, playing behind Westbrook, was able to be worth 6.88 wins on a 47-35 in the West.
Victor Oladipo has a chance to make an enormous impact on Indiana Pacer basketball now, and leave his stamp on the organization for years to come. Myles Turner is the new face of the organization and the team is being built around him. Turner now has something in common with Anthony Davis, Kevin Garnett, Chris Webber, and Shaquille O’Neal after becoming the fifth player ever to average 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks at the age of twenty.
Power-forward Domantas Sabonis is often forgotten about but is an extremely valuable piece in the Paul George trade. Sabonis played in 81 of 82 games last year for the Thunder and averaged 5.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, and one assist in 20 minutes per game. Experience comes at a high price in the NBA and Sabonis has that.
The Pacers have a solid surrounding group behind the two potential All-Star’s in Oladipo and third-year big man Myles Turner. Lance Stephenson is staying in Indy on a team friendly contract and hopes bring back the Lance of old to energize the team and the fans.
After waiving veteran guard Monta Ellis, the Pacers added guards Darren Collison and Cory Joseph to come off the bench. Bojan Bogdanovic was added to give some perimeter depth and another shooter. While Glenn Robinson III is projected to be out with an ankle injury until mid-December, rookie T.J. Leaf and Bogdanovic may need to play a big role to fill the void and earn some playing time down the stretch.
The Pacers organization has done a solid job of doing the best they could to make a competitive roster. The Eastern Conference is extremely top heavy and leaves a few playoff spots to be up for grabs. The Pacers have a shot at grabbing one of those spots if their young team gels quickly and fluently.
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