Me and Tim, along with a few other ESPN and TrueHoop Network folks, discussed a few of the Pacers players yesterday for the Worldwide Leader dot com internet website. It was a 5×5 fact or fiction free-for-all. (That was my new personal best for alliteration.)
Not all of the answers are encouraging for Pacers fans. But here’s what we all had to say about the consensus most-positive aspect of the Pacers’ past season.
2. Fact or Fiction: Paul George is the answer at SG.
Tim Donahue, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fact. Strictly speaking, Paul George is the answer at something — not necessarily the 2, but, close enough. He showed a lot in terms of defense and maturity, but he needs to find an offensive identity. Frank Vogel’s offense cannot ignore him the way it did down the stretch last season. George needs to be given a prominent, defined role.
John Hollinger, ESPN.com: Fact, sort of. George is absolutely the answer to something — I think he’s one of the best young wings in the league — but at 6-8 he’s stretched both defensively and as a ball handler at the 2; his future is more likely to be at small forward. Which is a bit problematic given that Danny Granger already plays there.
Jonathan Santiago, Cowbell Kingdom: Fact. There’s consensus among observers that George played phenomenal defense for the Pacers in their first-round playoff appearance. The Pacers have witnessed their other defensive wings fizzle out (Dahntay Jones, Brandon Rush), but it seems that George may buck that trend.
Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: Fiction. When the Pacers nearly nabbed O.J. Mayo at the trade deadline, it was an indication that they aren’t totally content with George as a major part of the future. Even after a subpar first season, though, he still has the time to convince Vogel and the rest of management that he can be a reliable rotation player.
Jared Wade, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fact. He is an excellent athlete who takes pride in defense. He is dangerous in transition and refined enough to score in the half court. He can handle the ball from both wing spots and guard three positions. Nationally, a lot of people took notice of the way his defense disrupted Derrick Rose in the playoffs. People in Indiana knew before that.
In related news, I also submitted a video commentary segment on the how the team will integrate George Hill into the offense. Some detractors about the deal have worried that Hill and Darren Collison are redundant and the Paul George should be playing 35 mpg per night. I don’t share those concerns and think Indiana now has the best back-court situation it has since I can remember.
Watch and don’t be disturbed by the presence of my giant, shiny, bald head.
It’s mostly harmless.