Paul George has just been traded to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Donates Sabonis! What does this mean for the Pacers? Here are 2 Scenarios!
The Pacers are ready to let their young players develop! Jeff Teague has agreed terms with the Timberwolves which means starting point guard is a concern. I think the Paul George trade for the Pacers shows they are trying to build a young team that may contend in 5 years time. I will show you 2 scenarios of next season for the Pacers.
We may see Aaron Brooks playing as a starting point guard. Last season Aaron Brooks only played 13.8 minutes, scoring exactly 5 points and averaging 1.9 assists. These are only his backup point guard numbers. To see how he might do as a starting point guard, I multiplied his numbers by 2.18. If you do that, he plays 30 minutes, scored 10.9 points while averaging 4 assists. However, you can also look at it this way. Brooks has only played starting point guard once in his career. In that season for the Rockets, Aaron Brooks played 35.6 minutes, scoring 19.6 and passing for 5.3 assists. With these numbers in mind, I think Aaron Brooks can be a decent starting point guard for the Pacers.
If Aaron Brooks plays the starting point, we may be seeing Edmond Sumner playing the backup 1 guard. Sumner averaged 14.3 points in college, shooting .533% and passing to get 4.8 assists a game. Sumner played 3 seasons for Xavier, improving each year. Sumner reminds me of Tim Frazier. He put up 7.1 points and averaged 5.2 assists. I feel that Sumner can be a possible backup point guard for the Pacers, he just has to develop.
In this scenario, Oladipo and Ellis play the shooting guard position. There is no need to bring back C.J. Miles in free agency. Oladipo can lead this team as if he starts the 2 key starters would be Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner. As much as this trade can hurt the Pacers, at least they got something in return before Paul George went to LA in free agency. When we saw Oladipo being the first scoring option in Orlando, 2014, he averaged 17.9 points. I think Oladipo can become a star for the Pacers.
Monta Ellis is 31 years old, and I don’t think that he is a starting caliber point guard. Last season as a starter he averaged 8.5 points. That was a significant drop of from two years ago in Dallas where he averaged 18.9 points. I think as a backup he can average 7 points however if he doesn’t produce then I think that Lance Stephenson can take over the backup 2. Overall I think the 2 is a stacked position for the Pacers and if someone doesn’t perform they have 3 possible players that have the ability to start.
With Paul George leaving, a big question for the team is small forward and this position is why I believe the Pacers may tank. The starter will probably end up being Glenn Robinson. When you tank, you still want to put fans in the seats. With Glenn Robinson on the team, fans are able to partially enjoy a loss. You may look back to the game going, “Wow, that was a really good dunk.” Glenn Robinson will probably be a starter, however on 25 other teams he would be a backup.
Backing up Robinson will be T.J. Leaf. T.J. Leaf played with one of the most over hyped players in Lonzo Ball. T.J. Leaf was the player in that team who was silent but deadly. For Leaf I will be looking at the game vs Kentucky when they lost in March Madness. In this game he went 7 for 11, while shooting 1 for 1 from long range. In total that makes 17 points, 7 more then Ball. Leaf also contributed 7 boards and 1 block. Overall he had an extraordinary game against players like Derrick Willis and Bam Adebayo. I think Leaf can take over the starting small forward position in a few years time.
Power forward is very clear, the starter has to be Thaddeus Young. When playing for a team that wasn’t good, Brooklyn Nets in 2015-16, he scored 15.1 points on average. He also grabbed 9 boards. Even for Indiana in the 2016-17, he scored 11 points a game. Young is a very good player especially when an offense plays with him as a second scoring option. While George was on the team, he couldn’t get the touches he did on another team. Thaddeus Young could be pretty good for the Pacers in this following season.
Because you are tanking, instead of playing Lavoy Allen the Pacers will play Ike Anigbogu out of UCLA. This kid is very risky, but could be a high reward type player. Look for him to break out in 2020 or 2021. Ike Anigbogu reminds me of Deandre Jordan. In 32 minutes, Jordan averaged 12.7 points and 13.8 rebounds. You may think that looking at Ike Anigbogu isn’t that incredible. He averaged 4.7 points while grabbing 4 boards. However, look at his per 40 minutes stats. If you look at that he got 14.5 points and 12.4 total rebounds. Therefore, I believe this kid is the next second round steal. Watch it.
Starter = Myles Turner. Future of the team. Best Player on the Team.
The backup center position has to be Al Jefferson. He is putting up about 8 points and 4 rebounds a game. For a backup center that is good numbers. I also feel that he can be a mentor for Myles Turner. He has made an All-NBA 3rd Team and in the 08-09 season he averaged 23.1 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Al Jefferson is a very experienced player and can help bring leadership in this Pacers team.
Again the problem is that Jeff Teague signed a deal with the Timberwolves. Because of this, if you are trying to contend Aaron Brooks is not the right option. You have to switch someone to play PG. I believe that next year if the Pacers try to contend, Oladipo or Monta Ellis will be playing point guard. I went with Ellis because we saw the Pacers played Ellis in the lineup at the 1 guard when George Hill got injured. Against, the bucks, the Pacers ended up winning 123 to 86. Ellis went for 12 points while also grabbing 5 boards and getting 5 assists. This game showed that Ellis can lead the Pacers as a PG.
As a backup point guard, I would pick Aaron Brooks. Aaron Brooks played backup for the Pacers last year. Aaron Brooks has had years where he only has 7 points, however other years he averages 20. Brooks brings leadership to the table as he has been in the league for 9 years. I think if they want to compete, this backup point guard is definitely a need as Aaron Brooks would be very inconsistent as a backup.
Starting at the 2 has to be Victor Oladipo, the man you traded Paul George for. Oladipo has a very unique style that he plays with. As I said earlier, Oladipo put up about 18 points a night for the Magic. With that team, he was the first scoring option. Now with this Pacers team, they will look to feed him the ball as he is the new first scoring option. Oladipo is a class player and I think will have a great year for the Pacers.
The back up 2 in this situation is Lance Stephenson, the Lebron James ear blower. Lance has bounced all over the league, he played for 5 teams in the past 2 seasons. This season he played for New Orleans, Minnesota and Indiana. Two notable performances was when he scored 21 against Memphis and 15 against GSW. In Game 4 of the Pacers vs Cavaliers series, Stephenson got 22 points. This man has still got game in him, he just needs Indiana to give him a fair chance like they did in Stephenson’s first 4 years in the NBA.
In this situation, I think the Pacers would be better of bringing back C.J. Miles. You can see that the difference between Miles staying and leaving really affects the Pacers tanking vs competing. Miles averaged 10 points a game while shooting .434%, shooting .413% from deep and .903% in free throw percentage. CJ Miles is a talented player for the Pacers and I think fans of the NBA would underrate this current starting lineup of Ellis, Oladipo and Miles.
For this team in this scenario, they want to compete, make it to the playoffs and cause some noise. Glenn Robinson is a project. He has improved every year from PPG, going from 1.2 to 4.4 to 5.8 and this year 6.1. He has also improved in his shooting percentage from 2’s and 3’s. We have seen this year how much athleticism he has. I expect him next year to score 8 points, meaning the season after he can reach 10 points. If this project does payoff for the Pacers, Big Dog’s son can make his dad proud.
As I said before, Thaddeus Young is one of the best players on this Indiana team. He is one of those players that can put up great numbers but no one talks about him. Thad Young is great on the defensive side of the ball and also scores 11 points a game. To add on to that his player efficiency rating is about a 15. If Young shines in the next year that rating could go up to 18 or maybe even 20. It depends how the coaching staff use him.
As much as I want to say that the Pacers should play T.J. Leaf in this spot, they just can’t. Coming into the game, Lavoy Allen is a great spark for the defensive side of the ball. He is great at rebounding, blocking shots and in general his overall defense. Per 36 minutes, Allen averages 7.3 points, grabs 9.1 boards including 4.3 offensive rebounds, and blocks a shot. He only turns the ball over about one time during the 36 minutes and even gets 2.4 assists. If you give Lavoy Allen some minutes, he can prove to you why he is underrated. Then as a third string option you have T.J. Leaf. I consider this position to be stacked in terms of depth for the Pacers.
Starter = Myles Turner. Future of the team. Best Player on the Team.
Just like T.J. Leaf, I really want to start Sabonis on this team. However, Al Jefferson puts up better numbers. He puts up 8 points and 4 rebounds. Per 36 minutes he averages 20.7 points and 10.7 rebounds. Sabonis isn’t even close to that number. Per 36 minutes, Sabonis averages 10.6 points and 8.7 rebounds. In 3 years Sabonis will play better, however if they are contending right now the better choice is Al Jefferson.
So that is my two scenarios for the Indiana Pacers after trading away Paul George. I wonder if the Pacers will tank or if they will try and contend. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section!
Picture – NBA.com