According to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Indiana’s finest were one of the biggest winners of this year’s Summer League. (via Indy Cornrows)
WINNER: Indiana Pacers
The Pacers gambled when they drafted Fresno State guard Paul George with the 11th overall pick, but George didn’t disappoint in Orlando. He not only scored well, averaging 15.2 points, but also grabbed 7.8 rebounds and was a better-than-expected defender with 2.4 steals per game.
Guard Lance Stephenson and forward Magnum Rolle, both second-round picks of the Pacers, also proved worthy of roster spots.
We took a look at Lance’s impressive performance in an earlier post and Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook was also kind enough to break down Paul George’s big game. Stuff like this doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things — but it could. (If that makes sense.) Sure, the fact that George can play some clutch ball in what is essentially a scrimmage while wearing some Eastbay-castoff uniforms doesn’t mean much. It will all be soon forgotten, and it is in no way a predictor of things to come.
But it could matter to him. It could be in the first goal to fall in the row of finely aligned row of dominoes that any NBA prospect needs to turn talent into a successful career. First, George has a pleasant and confidence-building Summer League. Then, maybe he has a few good months of training on his own. Then he has a good preseason. Then he makes a good start to the year.
Then? Who knows?
Obviously, he’s just a rookie, and there will inevitably be some bumps in the road. Maybe he’ll have trouble picking up Jim O’Brien’s famously hard-to-master offense. And by most accounts he has a lot to work on in terms of fundamentals and NBA-level skills. So there will be some frustration. He’s an NBA rookie. There will definitely be some frustration.
But hopefully getting off to a good start — not matter how meaningless in the grand scheme of things — will be meaningful to him.
We already know that Paul George’s first-ever press conference after making it to the NBA was meaningful to him. We’ll see if his Summer League success was. (Photo: Kyle Weidie of the Wizards’ blog Truth About It, which just today featured some Summer League thoughts from John Wall.)