Rik Smits should be next to get Pacers jersey retired over Paul George

The Indiana Pacers should retire Rik Smits' jersey before they consider doing the same for Paul George.

Indiana Pacers, Rik Smits, Paul George
Indiana Pacers, Rik Smits, Paul George / Focus On Sport/GettyImages
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Perhaps the most famous Indiana Pacers player is Reggie Miller. He was taken with the eleventh pick in the 1987 NBA Draft. One year later, his running mate for the next several years would be added to the squad.

With the second overall selection in the 1988 NBA Draft, the Pacers added a 7 foot 4, 250-pound center. Nicknamed the 'Dunking Dutchman, Rik Smits would also become a part of the rich Pacers' history.

Indiana has only retired four jerseys since their entry into the NBA in 1976. Along with Miller (#31), Geroge McGinnis (#30), Mel Daniels (#34) and Roger Brown (#35) have all had their numbers retired by the organization.

Rik Smits, Shawn Bradley
Indiana Pacers v New Jersey Nets / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

Smits made the All-Rookie First Team in 1989. Nearly a decade later, he would earn his first and only All-Star nod.

In his lone All-Star appearance, Smits recorded ten points, seven rebounds and four assists. His #45 is retired by his college alma mater, Marist.

With 12,871 career points and a 50.7% career field goal percentage, Smits was the Robin to Miller's Batman. They were a formidable one-two punch in the 90's for the Pacers.

Smits also pulled in 5,277 rebounds, averaging almost seven boards a game his tenure in Indiana. He also finished with 1,111 blocks averaged 77.3% from the free-throw line in his twelve years for the Pacers.

The former Indiana center played in 104 playoff games, starting in all but eight of them. He would match his regular season average of 14.8 points per game but would shoot more than 5.5% better from the charity stripe.

Though the Pacers never won a title with Smits (or Miller), he was major factor in those deep postseason runs from 1994 to 2000. He was forced to retire due to multiple surgeries stemming from foot and back injuries.

Paul George is an amazing player, and he led the Pacers through some great years. But he only spent seven years in Indiana compared to Smits' 12. And though he made three more All-Star teams in the uniform, Smits' presence had a deeper meaning to the organization. Even George doesn't think they should retire his number.

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Smits will be remembered not just among Pacers fans but also among an avid NBA fan base that appreciates the 90s for the powerhouses in the Eastern Conference like Indiana. It is time to hang up his jersey (#24 or #25) up next.