Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel put the Pacers future on display for a few minutes to start the fourth quarter in the team's loss to Atlanta on Tuesday night.
Now there are several variables at play but at least heading into this season, a lineup consisting of Darren Collison, George Hill, Paul George, Tyler Hansbrough and Roy Hibbert would've been considered a common combination in say, 2013. Of course, that would require re-signing G3 and Hibbert and not dealing Collison and Hansbrough, all of which is up in the air at this point in the season.
The group gave a lively effort outscoring the Hawks 9-6 in the 2:45 of clock time they played together. Hansbrough scored five points, while George Hill attacked the rim for a couple of nice layups. As he did most of the fourth quarter, Jannero Pargo ruined the party with a pair of three-pointers for the Hawks.
Before the game on Tuesday, Vogel mentioned that he used the blowout in Chicago to pair George Hill and Paul George together and wanted to see the pairing more. As for this full unit, this was just the second time they were all on the floor together, the other coming for a little over a minute when they outscored Toronto 4-0.
I bring this up for one, because the thought struck me as I was watching the game and noticed the rare combination, but also to underscore how things can change quickly, including the future. The outlook for this group is different today than it was at the start of the season, but regardless of how those players are eventually used they remain key assets for the team going forward.
So the future outlook for the Pacers remains great with young talent and tons of available cap space to improve the team. The trade deadline next week may bring a new future for the Pacers and if not, the offseason will see some additional change. But after waiting so long for a bright future to emerge for the franchise, that future draws closer and closer to the present day, as we witnessed briefly against the Hawks on Tuesday.