The Pacers were on a seven game win streak, but have since lost six in a row to the Cavs, Wiz, Bucks, Spurs, Cavs and Wiz. They've been without Thad Young the past eight games and that was a tough stretch of games, but this team has been very inconsistent all season. The schedule doesn't get much easier after the All-Star break.
After last night's game, Paul George had a lot to say. He said the team lacks spark, isn't connected and they haven't adjusted to how teams are playing now in the NBA (defending spread offenses, pick and roll/pop sets, etc). He mentioned that they may need to change schemes instead of trying to make changes during games when the players are not really sure how to guard something. He also made a comment that suggests maybe some players don't like playing with each other. Here's the article:
Nate McMillian made comments that suggested some players aren't passionate about winning. He's also had some slight criticism lately about Paul George and Jeff Teague.
One thing is clear... It's just not working. The Pacers are at the All-Star break and they still lack chemistry, cohesion, etc. IF I had to make a guess, I'd say George isn't really feeling McMillian. I also don't think Jeff Teague enjoys playing with Monta Ellis, a ball dominant guard with no outside shot. It's no coincidence that Teague's play has sort of dropped off since Ellis' minutes have increased the last 5 games.
What should the team do? Should Bird make a trade before the trade deadline? What are your thoughts on McMillian, George, etc?
Before the season started, I believed the Pacers would be a top-4 seed in the East. I loved Myles Turner and expected the growth he's shown. Paul George is one of the top wings in the game, and Jeff Teague is underrated. The talent is absolutely there, the problem has been effort and chemistry.
I think coaching is a problem, and Nate McMillan is not the answer. But firing him isn't going to solve their problems. I think they need a highly unselfish guard, who is a great passer, who will make sharing the ball contagious, and will bring a level of defensive tenacity to their play.
A guy like TJ McConnell or Matthew Dellevedova would be perfect, if only they were 6'-6." They're too small to play next to Teague. If only Rubio played D, or if Draymond Green were attainable! Charlotte is 2.5 games out of the No. 8 seed; maybe they'd part with Nic Batum?
I definitely think they need to get rid of Ellis. I don't care if it's for a bag of basketballs and some toner.
It's pretty clear that they're going to be stuck in "average" purgatory as they are, so I don't see why they shouldn't blow the thing up. If that includes trading George for a king's ransom, then so be it. The only player I'd be sad to see go is Myles Turner, if I'm being honest.
As for McMillan, I don't know. My feeling is that he's gone sooner than later, especially with Bird making the decisions. The problem is that I'm not sure there are better options. If they're going to be stuck with him, then I hope he can at least get them to play better defense. That's more important this misguided notion that they need to play faster for no reason.
I don't think the new acquisitions are to blame. Indiana never really played well with Ellis there.
They haven't been together long enough. Today's day of sports people want results instantly. I think to make more trades would be to restart the process and push yourself further back. The main priority right now should be developing Myles Turner. Noone is really talking about him but he has unreal potential. I think he can be just as good as Towns or Porzingis one day.
I also think they should get away from Monta Ellis and Rodney Stuckey. They are probably limiting Teague a bit. Both have had tons of success in thier past and seem to be messing up the pecking order in Indiana. I think if you move those two Teague will feel more responsibility and step up to lead his team.
The cherry on top would be a Lance Stephenson return but how probable would that be with his history and current 1o day with Minny.
This team is one of the most frustrating Pacers teams I have ever watched and PG continually running to the media is starting to annoy the heck out of me. I just wish he would shut up and play basketball, but I am starting to think it ain't in his nature. I play out this season, maybe try make an acquisition such as a Wilson Chandler to see if that doesn't help get some consistency going.
Now if that don't work I am waiting to see where those lottery balls fall and see how Boston, Phoenix and LA end up then see what packages they may put together for Paul George as I think the chances of him re-signing are getting slimmer by the day. I'm looking at Fultz or Ball with a high pick and also letting Teague walk to get paid elsewhere.
Maybe the All-Star break lights a fire under Indiana and they come back a stronger team, but if not I am all in on building around Myles Turner, a high draft pick and potentially/hopefully another young prospect involved in the package (Jaylen Brown, Marquese Chriss or Brandon Ingram/Julius Randle).
I think looking at trading PG now is a mistake as we don't know where those ping pong balls will fall and if you traded him to a team like Phoenix or Lakers he could push them into the late lottery or into that 8th seed in the West that is still wide open.
PG is still my favorite player in the NBA, but he's annoyed me this season. Not only has he been running to the media, he also hasn't consistently given full ass effort. It's like he's just going through the motions at times. I don't know what his deal is. Since he's been in the NBA, he's gotten better every off-season. This last off-season is the first one I don't feel he got better. I don't know if that's because he chose to play with Team USA or what. Usually players come back better after playing with Team USA. Maybe he didn't get the rest he needed. I'm not sure.
I'm really hoping we can keep him, but if he doesn't want to be here, I hope he works with the Pacers so we can trade him and get the right pieces back to help them rebuild.
I still love PG and he is still my favorite player as well I just wish he had a little more killer in him, in saying that he has one of the smoothest games in the NBA so that may effect the perception a little.
My ideal trade would be: Jefferson, Stuckey, Miles and 2017 pick for Faried and Chandler.
I see Miles and Stuckey testing FA so they are expiring contracts, Jefferson could be a great mentor for Jokic and both Plumlee and Jokic are fantastic passers they could get AL good looks. Denver would still have future assets and a stronger team to run to the playoffs with.
Indiana would lose a bit of Bench scoring, but Young would join the second unit along with Ellis, GRIII and Seraphin to create a pretty solid unit. Starters would look like:
Teague, George, Chandler, Faried and Turner those new additions would help with rebounding immensely and both are young enough to build with this team.
I can see why people would say Denver wouldn't do this, but they don't need Chandler or Faried going forward so to get a future asset in a strong draft, cap space for big name free agent(s) and a solid vet player isn't all that shabby in return.
Read a rumor today that the Pacers are trying to get Brook Lopez.
Who knows if it's true or just how serious it is, but I don't think it's the right move for the Pacers.
Apparently Bird is listening and fears that PG will leave as they are open to trading their 1st rounder in this upcoming draft which appears to be a very strong one.
I hope it is a guy like Gallo or Chandler who can play both forward spots.
i just read that article straight after one asking what the hell Boston are gonna do with Fultz/Ball, Thomas and Bradley (and Smart and Rozier) .. putting them together and it might be that Paul George to Boston is the best option, a trade centred around this years Brooklyn pick .. Thats the type of chance the Celtics need to take if they want to push for the Finals in this window. The Pacers could put a very high pick with their own and Myles Turner, they still have spme vets like Young and Teague.. may be the best available move for both teams.
PG could find himself on a one way ticket out of Indy as Walsh/Bird/Pritchard/MacMillan aren't the sort of guys you want to start calling out. The Pacers could easily get a good package for him and rebuild around Myles Turner.
If PG was in play then Boston, Lakers, Knicks, Dallas etc could all come knocking, the Pacers FO would be able to demand a good price and if they get a couple of good picks out of it could rebuild fairly quickly. Teague is an FA this summer and will likely to be after a salary of $20 million a season so if PG isn't happy, the Pacers may not want to throw huge money at Teague.
The Pacers have the flexability to do a deal to put right players around PG but could just as easiuly go into rebuild if PG wanted to move on. They own all their own picks and have cap space, so can go either way.