NBA.com is going ahead with their season previews, and I wanted to call your attention to the Indiana Pacers. This is a fantastic look at how the team will unfold over this season, and even includes three points to watch for. Those are the things that caught my eye, and I wanted to make them known for you to look over.
Three Points from NBA.com Indiana Pacers’ Season Preview
“1. The next phase for Paul George is now. He went from Scottie Pippen-like potential to Pippen-in-1993-94, “No more Michael” attack mode. That means he’ll be the subject of other coaches’ game plans and multiple defenders like never before, so it will be on George to grow his game again and counter.”
My Take: If there was ever a time when the fans wanted that superstar, Paul George is it. He’s ready to make that leap from Scottie Pippen into more than Scottie Pippen. Don’t worry, I’m not going with the Michael Jordan status. Because let’s face it, no one is going to be Jordan. That’s a whole other article posting. But for now, Paul George has to be the leader of this team and take things into his hands when he can. Calling for the ball for a winning basket. Putting up a big scoring binge of 30 or more points. Getting double doubles and even some triple doubles. This season is going to be big for George as he’s going to prove his worth to the team, and we all know how fans want to know how a player is proving himself. I hope he’s ready for the challenge, and I believe he will be.
“2. Roy Hibbert is always 7-foot-2, so his rim protection rarely has to be questioned. But the Pacers center still can get stronger, more assertive and quicker in his decisions. Just because the All-Star ballots no longer list “centers,” a switch that made him grumpy, doesn’t mean he has to surrender completely to the “frontcourt” trend. Stay big and play big, Roy.”
My Take: Play Big Mr. Hibbert that’s what I am saying this season. I do think it might be tough for Hibbert to get that full All Star consideration, but if he can play close to the level he did during the playoffs, he has to be mentioned in that conversation even without the center position being listed. I think he’s got to be strong around the rim, and I hope he can get that aggressive attitude when going to the rim. There was a moment of that during the playoffs, where he just exploded to the rim. My memory is a bit foggy, but I want to say it was against the Hawks, and I swear it was the strongest move Hibbert had ever made. He shouldn’t settle for that jump hook and the soft touch around the rim. Against most of the centers in the league, Hibbert has an advantage, time to take it to the bank with that.
“3. Like a lot of guys bringing the ball upcourt in this league, George Hill plays like a shooting guard trapped in a point guard’s body (and on a roster that needs him as its playmaker and organizer). Indiana also needs him to look for his shots when they’re there and to chase the other guys’ point guards, and maybe every once in a while — given Hill’s tendency to criticize his own game — cut himself some slack.”
My Take: Now that I look at it, George Hill is one of those guys that seems to be really hard on himself, like Roy Hibbert. Guys that are pretty emotional during the game, and you can just tell what they’re game is like by the body language. I am huge on that aspect of the game of basketball. A lot of people put so much emphasis into stats, numbers, figures, facts, but when it comes down to it, can a guy play the game of basketball, and how does he look when playing? That’s really all that should matter. Hill is a leader for this team, and I understand why he’s hard on himself when he wants to be the best player he can. Especially when he’s into this role of point guard, a position he’s really learning about. But I still believe in him in that role, and this season, he should look for his shot more often and push the tempo at times. He’s a really important piece to the Pacers’ puzzle, and one that I believe help sets the picture.