Posts Tagged ‘Paul George’

The Indiana Pacers: #BeatTheHeat  <-(Click Here For Highlights)

On February 1st the leagues top two defensive teams faced off. When the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat play it’s always a physical game. Even before last year’s Eastern Conference Semi-finals they had intense games. The Heat took the first two season meetings, the first one was a crushing victory. The second game was one in overtime with a last second shot by Dwayne Wade. Most people will say that the Heat didn’t win the game but the Pacers lost it themselves.

The Pacers exposed a lot of the Heat’s flaws. Everyone knows that Miami is not the best rebounding team and that they lack depth and toughness in the front court. David West and company attacked the low post almost every time down the court. When West feels Shane Battier on his back it was almost an automatic bucket from there. Through three quarters West only missed one shot.

Another player who played big was Lance Stephenson. He may not be a household name but he is a guy who will try his hardest to out-hustle you. He’s an in-your-face defender and it looked like Wade and LeBron were not fully prepared for that. Throughout the game you could catch the two complaining to the ref about the physical play of Lance. They also got ticked off by Lance’s steady trash talking after plays and when he slapped the ball out of LeBron’s hands just for fun. At halftime he and Wade both had similar numbers so he had to be doing something right.

Paul George had a bigger night than what his numbers showed. He may be an all-star but the way the Pacer’s offense is ran, everyone is involved. He didn’t force anything at all during this game. Even with LeBron on him he was able to pick and choose his spots. On the defensive end he was solid as well. He had one series that showed his versatility on both ends of the court. After hitting a three he instantly intercepted a pass as soon as the ball came across half-court. That steal lead to a euro-step past a defender and into a two hand slam.

At one point in the game it looked like Indy was about to blow the lid off of their lead. It almost got out of hand. You could see the frustration in all the faces of all the Miami Heat players and coaching staff. There were two trips down the court where LeBron was slamming the ball while he was dribbling. It was just a really bad night night for them.

The Pacers laid the blueprint on how to beat them. Going forward i’m sure that teams with large, skilled big men will expose these flaws down low. Although Hibbert was a non factor on offense people around the organization still have faith that he will turn things around later in the season. If he wasn’t in such of a slump that game would’ve been worse for Miami.

The heat are actively searching for an anchor in the paint. They have recently signed Chris Anderson, better known as “Birdman”, to his second 10-day contract. His play has been pretty promising for them. He’s very athletic and provides great size for a team that’s lacking it. Miami may not need a dominant player in the post game on offense but they definently need a guy with size that can provide toughness and rebounding. The way their offense is set up it’s mostly drive and kick, or pick and pop with Bosh.

Expect to see many more great battles between these two ball clubs in the future. I wouldn’t be surprised if these teams met in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pacers are headed in the right direction and the Miami Heat will be the team to beat for some time. Basketball is back in Indiana and it’s a beautiful thing.

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  Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last several months you know that Paul George has become the new go-to-guy for the Indiana Pacers. All of his stats are up and he also has more double-double’s this season than what he had in his first two years combined. So far he’s made his first all-star team and is the front runner to win the Most Improved Player of the Year Award. But all of this might not have happened if Danny Granger wasn’t out with knee tendinitis.

The front office and the people of Indianapolis have gravitated towards Paul George so what does this mean for Granger’s future with this organization? If you’ve ever typed in his name on twitter or even gone to a Pacer game you will know that the fans are not too fond of him. They feel that he hasn’t worked on his game enough to reach his full potential.. After his all-star season where he scored 25 ppg, the people expected him to continue to blossom into this scoring machine. But what they don’t know is that he only scored at that rate because of their former head coach’s (Jim O’Brien) system. His shot attempts were way higher in that system than what they are with coach Vogel.

With pieces falling into place for Indy who is expendable? Will they resign David West or make a move for the best available option? DJ Augustine has been a bust of a pick up for them and at one point he lost the back up point guard position to rookie Ben Hansbrough. DJ was suppose to provide energy and scoring off the bench but just hasn’t produced like they would hope.

I can see the Pacers making a package deal with Granger, DJ, and maybe West (Depending on if they want to give him a contract extension). But who could we get in return? Could they make a move for Indiana native Zach Randolph? Memphis has been cleaning house to avoid penalties from the luxury tax next season. After acquiring Ed Davis, a young big man with a promising future, they could decide to eventually move Randolph.

Some other people who have been in trade talks are J.J. Redick and Aaron Afflalo, Avery Bradley, Monta Ellis, Nick Young, Thaddeus Young, Andre Iguodala, Marcus Thornton and Vince Carter. When the Pacers get rid of Granger they will most likely move the 6’10 Paul George from shooting guard to small forward. Lance Stephenson is a capable guard but he’s no starter. They will nedd help at the shooting guard position.

J.J. Redick is a great shooter and hustles on defense but other players that I’ve named would make more sense. Monta Ellis would give the Pacers that instant offense that they’ve been missing for quite some time but the downside to Ellis is his attitude. At times he can be hard to please. His on-ball defense can be sketchy at times as well. He can get steals in the passing lane but more times than none you’ll get burnt from taking that risk.

Then there’s Nick Young and Marcus Thorton. Young isn’t consistent enough nor is he a defender that Coach Vogel would have confidence in. Lance Stephenson would take his starting spot before the season even starts. Marcus Thorton is a guy who can flat out fill it up. I can see him fitting in well with this current roster.

Vince Carter and Thaddeus Young are two other guys who’s names have been floating around also. The Pacers will not make a move for Vince Carter, that should be a given for obvious reasons. Young is very doubtful to me as well. He’ll bring more size and athleticism which is a good thing but it’s not really needed as much as scoring.

The next player would be a great fit but would be a risky trade, that player is the “Poor Man’s LeBron,” Andre Iguodala. He’s one of the most athletic guys in the league and also has good offensive skills, but consistency has been a problem for him this season but we all know what he can do when fully engaged. But the one part of his game that separates him from the other guys that I have named is his defense. He is for sure one of the best defensive guys in the league and if he isn’t feeling it on offense he’ll most likely always be solid on defense.

There are plenty of other names that have been floating around but as far as the Indiana Pacers go i say that these guys make the most sense for their roster needs. Granger most likely will not be traded this season because of his knee issues but anything could happen. I know for a fact that he will not be wearing the Pacer blue and gold for much longer. He will have to play at his absolute best when he returns if he wants any hope of staying in Indy.

George Hill: I love what Hill brings off the bench. He brings many different things to the table. Not only can he get open for a spot up jumper but he can also create his own offense when needed. He shoots 42 percent from the three point line and shoots 48 percent from the field. Numbers wise i wished he’d bring more scoring and assist to the team. He gets 10 points per game and one assist. He plays 24 minutes per game and the numbers he’s getting doesn’t really reflect that. On the other hand the Pacers do have six players in double figures so the 10 he’s getting now is just enough.

David West: At first it was obvious to me that he came here just for the money. Even on his Twitter account he had his location as “Indy…”. The three dots say a lot. But now as the team is coming into their own and being relevant it seems like he’s enjoying his time with this young up and coming Pacers team. He evened changed his Twitter location from “Indy…” to “Indy!!!”. I love seeing him in the pick and roll game with Collison. There’s a lot of easy points coming from this duo. Then the depth at the forward position is great. Hansbrough is without a doubt one of the best sixth men in the league. Hansbrough is no push-over so when West goes out of the game we’re not losing much production.

Paul George: Paul George gets better and better every game. He’s shooting the ball well and he’s giving the Pacers versatility on both ends of the floor. He can guard point-guards all the way to the small-forward position. On offense he’s not quit yet an offensive nightmare but he does bring some  match up problems for certain teams. I see great things to come for George. I can’t wait until he taps into his full potential. There’s a lot of upside to this young Pacers guard.

Tyler Hansbrough: I’ll be the first one to tell you that i wasn’t to pleased when the Pacers drafted him. I thought he’d turn out to be like Adam Morrison to be flat-out honest. I didn’t think his game would translate to the NBA game. He proved me wrong. He is the perfect example of  your “blue-collar” athlete. He shows that with hustle and hard work you can be successful. He’s one of the toughest players that I’ve seen play for the Pacers. I have a ton of respect for what he does night in and night out for this organization. He’s our garbage man. He cleans up around the rim with his offensive rebounds and put backs. Also he’s just flat-out frustrating to play against. Ask KG, ask Amare’ Stoudemire. They can’t stand the guy. Tyler will go out there and out hustle whoever it is he’s playing against.

Danny Granger: He’s having a down year statistically but I’m not to worried about it. I’d rather have him have lower numbers and win than have him put up 26 to 28 points per game and lose. He struggled a lot early on from the field but in the last few games he has put up big scoring numbers but he’s more efficient and that’s great for him. I expect his shooting percentage of 35 from the field to raise before the all-star break. Look for him to post up more and to get more involved in the running game. At the end of the day Danny Granger is Danny Granger and we know what to expect from him.

Roy Hibbert: I’ve studied his game since the first day we drafted him. He’s definently one of the most improved players since his draft. He used to be soft and somewhat timid when he went up against some elite centers and bigs known for great defense. Now he’ll take it to anyone. I watched their game against the Lakers last week and he played his heart out. Him and Andrew Bynum were having a physical warfare out there. Hibbert showed me that he’s not going to choke in crucial parts of the game down the stretch. Last season there were articles judging him on being timid and weak-minded at the face of adversity but throw all that out the window now. He has coaches that believe in him and a ton of Hoosiers in the state of Indiana that have faith in him as well.

Darren Collison: I’m loving how smart he’s playing this season. He only averages five assist per game but if basketball took into account hockey assist he’d have way more than five, I can guarantee that much. Also he’s taking smarter shots. Last season i used to cringe every time he put up a shot but this season not so much. The pick and roll option with Hibbert and West get him open for more easy mid range shots. On top of creating offense for his teammates he can use his speed to get to the whole at will. He’s usually faster than half the point-guards he faces. He creates so many opportunities for others to be successful. That unselfish play is the key to the Pacers success and it all starts with him.