Paul George was going to opt out of the last year in his deal to become a free agent during the summer of 2018 forcing the Indiana Pacers to make a painful decision: hold onto George and hope —by some miracle—he changes his mind or trade their superstar and have at least something to show for his departure.
Indiana embraced the latter and dealt George to Oklahoma City in return for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. After the trade was official, everyone had an opinion and most scoffed at the Pacers “haul”.
It’s still early but maybe the peanut gallery jumped the gun a bit too early by dismissing the Paul George-less Pacers.
When: November 8th at 7 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena - Detroit, MI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit (League Pass)
Indiana is 5-6 despite gifted third-year center Myles Turner already missing seven games due to concussion related symptoms suffered on opening night against Brooklyn. The Pacers were able to stay afloat with help from the OKC castoffs and newcomers Darren Collison, Bojan Bogdanovic and Cory Joseph.
Turner is back but the Pacers are losers of three in a row including last night (minus an injured Sabonis) against the visiting New Orleans Pelicans. Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins combined for 69 points while the Pels—as a team— scored 52 points in the paint which is significant because no team in the NBA allows more paint points than the Pacers.
Some of that can surely be attributed to the early absence of Turner but until proven otherwise, it’s an issue.
The Pistons have veered away from the consistent pick-and-roll but we might see Detroit go back to its SVG roots as the Pacers PNR defense is ranked slightly north of shitty (opponents derived offense from the PNR scores .967 PPP against the Pacers).
I expect to see a healthy dose of Tobias Harris mixed in with the Pistons pick-and-roll:
Harris should be matched up with Bagdanovic or Thad Young and neither—to date—have proven to be reliable defenders of such action.
The early season Pacers’ offense has been humming thanks in large part to Victor Oladipo who is averaging a career high 23 points per game while shooting 44 percent beyond the arc (over five attempts per game).
Dipo—like the rest of the Pacers—want to get out and run (you know, like any typical Nate McMillan team), he’s scored 66 points in transition which is fifth most in the league. As a whole, the team’s offensive rating and pace are both ranked in the top ten.
Eventually, I fully expect the offense to run through Myles Turner as he’s already one of the top young bigs (beautifully explained here) but as he’s still trying to get his sea legs back from being concussed, the Pistons gotta take advantage.
While it’s not exactly like last week’s reunion with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit welcomes home Damien Wilkins (Pistons legend from the 2011-12 season) who, apparently, is still playing basketball.
Darren Collison, Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thad Young
Glenn Robinson III is out; stay tuned to the GameThread for news on Domantas Sabonis
Reggie Jackson, Avery Bradley, Andre Drummond, Tobias Harris, Stanley Johnson
Is there a better home court advantage than the beautiful LCA? The Pistons have won 80 percent of ALL games played there. Incredible.
Pacers 100, Pistons 104