The Indiana Pacers currently stand at 20-3, which would is listed as the best record in the league. We all know the story. Danny Granger is injured. Paul George is competing for the Most Valuable Player Award. His counterpart, Roy Hibbert, is protecting the rim better than anyone else in the league and also looking to hoist the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Lance Stephenson has taken great leaps this season as he continues to fill out the stat sheet. David West is as good as any power forward in the league.
And let’s not forget the bench. C.J. Watson and the talented Luis Scola have brought a lot of energy and firepower off the bench so far this year for Indy. Not to mention, the Pacers got a steal this offseason when they were able to get Scola. Scola is basically a starting capable forward that is coming off the bench.
All this good. So where is the weak spot in the Pacers lineup?
I would have to say the point guard position is where the Pacers may find a problem down the road. George Hill is a tremendous talent but is not a natural point guard. He was brought to Indiana from the San Antonio Spurs where he displayed the ability to shoot the ball from behind the arc. Hill did not have much of a point guard presence with the Spurs. He came in the lineup more as a shooting guard.
Just by watching an Indiana game, you can almost tell George Hill becoming a point guard is still an ongoing process. He doesn’t seem to be as comfortable at the PG position. This is not a bad thing or an attack on Hill. Transitioning from the shooting guard to the PG is a BIG transition. Firstly, your mindset has to change. You go from once being aggressive to score the ball to doing your best to make sure you are getting everyone involved and being the captain of the ship.
Hill is steadily progressing at this position but only time will tell how well this transition will ultimately become. We can simply look at the best PG’s in the league and see how hard it is to change to a point guard. Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose are two classic examples of players that had to overcome this transition stage. They both are amongst the leaders in shot attempts for their teams on any given night but also find a way to get in the assist column. Not to compare Hill to Westbrook or Rose, but the situation at hand for the Pacers is very similar. The funny thing is the backup PG, C.J. Watson has a strong scoring mentality as well so the Pacers are forced to stick with Hill. Additionally, Lance Stephenson leads the team in assists.
Another problem that may arise is their lack of another perimeter guard that can score the ball. Think of this: If LeBron James plays a bad game, and Dwayne Wade still goes off, the Heat usually can still be slotted in the W column. If Paul George has a bad shooting night (just like he had earlier this year against Chicago, which was their first loss as well), who can the Pacers look to step up? This is where I think Danny Granger will be of help to the Pacers. He could help take a lot of pressure off of George.
This won’t seem to make much sense now but wait until the playoffs and the long 7 game series. Paul George will not be able to go for 30 a night against the Miami Heat. They will need someone else step up to the challenge and score the ball. The only positive is that the Pacers play good enough defense to the point that if they are struggling from the field, they always will have a good chance of still being in the game.
The Pacers displayed that they are after the Heat. They love the challenge of being able to be that team to knock off the Champs. They are not scared and I can’t wait until Wednesday to see how they respond to being in Miami after beating them last week. The Pacers are the better team right now, but that doesn’t mean anything. The Heat are the best at emerging as the best team around the months of April and May. For a team that is out to prove to the world that they are serious title contenders. I don’t think they have a problem trying to be consistent, handle success, and ultimately be that team in wee moment before the playoffs begin.