It’s been a very frustrating season for Paul George and the Indiana Pacers, and the former All-Star hasn’t been afraid to voice his criticisms.
If I’m able to put money on George leaving the Indiana Pacers, that’s a risk worth taking. It’s the third time this year that PG has spoken up about not-so-good things on Indiana’s part, and the bad is vastly outweighing the good. In December, he opened up about the “frustrating” season, and a month before that he was appalled at the Pacers’ lack of chemistry.
After a deflating 115-114 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday, George was, um, upset — to say the least. The actual word he used was “pissed,” according to Nate Taylor of the Indy Star. “I know I was pissed. It’s the only way to really sum it up.”
“We should have a professional approach, man, and defend our home court, especially to a team that’s not even in the playoffs,” continued the disgruntled star. “That’s what it comes down to. As a team, we’ve got to have a grit and we’ve got to own up, man up.”
The Timberwolves are just 29-44 on the year and sit at 12 in the West. For Indiana, winning games against teams that they’re better than is crucial for them in a tight-seeded Eastern Conference.
“There’s no urgency, no sense of urgency, no winning pride.”
With the loss, the Pacers fall to 37-37 but are still in the playoff picture. They’re one game ahead of the Miami Heat for the eighth-seed and one game back of the Atlanta Hawks for the sixth but have dropped six of their last 10, and the remaining games don’t get any easier. Memphis, Toronto, Cleveland and Toronto again are the next four on the slate for the Pacers. After them, they have a meeting with the much improved Milwaukee Bucks before two winnable games against Orlando and Philadelphia. They then wrap up the season against the Hawks.
George is still a great player despite a slight regression in production. His scoring, rebounding and assist numbers are all down from last year, but he’s much more efficient, and the Pacers have a better team. Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young were the two most prominent newcomers, and Myles Turner was projected to have an explosive second season.
The Indiana Pacers were a legitimate threat to finish as a top-four seed, but they’ve flopped. In his first year in Indiana, Nate McMillan has been average at best. The defense is decent, and the offense could be better, but it was a mistake letting Frank Vogel go. Despite the change, the team was increasingly optimistic before the season started.
A matchup against either Boston or Cleveland is more than likely, and Indiana hasn’t fared well against either team this year. The Celtics have beaten them four times and, at best, they’re going to be 2-2 against the Cavs and a first-round dismantling might be all Paul George needs to make his decision.
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