The Pacers had trouble getting going after the 8:00AM tip, although Paul George offered a little shot of espresso with a nice cross-over drive and dunk in the first quarter. Check it out after the jump.
The game's outcome holds no importance but the week's outcome was extremely important for the Pacers. Draft picks Paul George, Magnum Rolle and Lance Stephenson played extensive minutes and all proved worthy of roster spots on the 15-man roster heading into training camp.
Bruno has more on the Pacers' reaction to the performance of the rookies with thoughts on the trio from Frank Vogel.
"The big picture is the general consensus down here from every scout, every coach and every personnel man that I talked to just raved about the draft we had," said Frank Vogel, the assistant coach who guided the summer-league team. "To get three guys that really have a legitimate shot at being in this league for a long time is the number one impression."
The great thing was all of the playing time the rookies have on tape to help with their development. Paul George played 151 of a possible 200 minutes in the 5 games. Magnum Rolle played 142 minutes. Lance Stephenson didn't play today after banging his leg yesterday, but averaged 23 minutes in the four games he did play. That leaves the coaches and players plenty of good, bad and ugly to analyze.
Stephenson was a revelation at times, showing an ability to push the ball in the lane, handle contact and score. Not known for his shooting, he stayed withing himself and made 22 of 30 shots from the floor and 15 of 21 from the line. If Stephenson can shoot over 70% from the line, he'll score a lot of points in his career.
Mike Wells mentioned tonight that Stephenson has the Pacers thinking they may not need to add another point guard this summer. That's a whole different story, as in, you mean they're fine with T.J. Ford? A.J. Price won't be ready to start the season, but what the heck, if JOB will actually play Stephenson then the I could live with the mixed results. But I digress.
Back to Orlando, Paul George showed plenty of good things and also exposed weaknesses he needs to work on, namely his ball handling in traffic. While he had 22 points and 13 rebounds today he also had 6 turnovers. When he maintains the handle he can finish in the lane, but he's not there yet. But regardless of how he played, playing all of those minutes this week (capped off with 35 minutes today) after 7 practices and 5 games in 8 days is impressive. George's final blog post from Orlando captures the grind he went through.
The best thing about the week is that there are some new story lines and intriguing players to look forward to tracking as we head into the season. As linked Indy62 pointed out in the FanPosts, the rookies turned some heads down in Orlando.
Also, in Bruno's post he reports that the Pacers commented on Roy Hibbert's knee which was tweaked in the Dominican Republic while playing for Jamaica and confirmed what Jordan Olivo relayed to me last night that the injury is considered minor. That's great news but I'll fully exhale when they say the same thing AFTER the MRI results are revealed.
Don't forget Paul George's espresso cross-over dunk after the jump.