The revamped 2016-2017 Indiana Pacers have hardly lived up to expectations thus far this season and it is clearly beginning to wear on NBA superstar, Paul George. After a 122-100 loss to the Charlotte Hornets, George commented, “We’re all out of whack. There’s no trust, there’s no chemistry, there’s no belief. We’re just kind of lifeless right now.” In the game against Charlotte, the Pacers allowed the Hornets to score 75 points in the first half and could do nothing to contain point guard Kemba Walker.
Continually, in Saturday’s win against the Bulls, Paul George got ejected for a rather embarrassing display of emotion. After being called for a foul late in the third quarter, George proceeded to kick the basketball into the stands, hitting a fan. Paul George claimed in postgame interviews that he was simply trying to kick the ball against the base of the goal and joked that his soccer skills are not up to par. George apologized to the fan and she assured him that she was okay. Regardless, even in a 111-94 win Paul George seems to be frustrated with the way the Pacers have handled their business so far this season.
In the offseason, the Pacers parted ways with head coach Frank Vogel and hired Nate McMillan who has been asked by management to play a faster, more exciting style of basketball than was played under Vogel. Furthermore, the Pacers attained Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young via trade and signed Al Jefferson in free agency. The Pacers certainly made an attempt to bring a more exciting, faster paced brand of basketball to Indiana by reconstructing their lineup in the offseason. However, this new look Pacer team has shown little in the way of exciting basketball.
When a team makes a large number of roster moves going into a season, not much can be done to predict how the new-look team will work together. On paper, the new-look Indiana Pacers have much to aspire to. They are anchored by superstar Paul George and have quality pieces from top to bottom. Myles Turner is one of the most exciting young players in the game, averaging over 16 points and almost 7 rebounds a game.
The Pacers also have a wealth of veteran talent in C.J. Miles, Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, Monta Ellis, and Al Jefferson. Because of these pieces, it would be easy to set lofty expectations for the 2016-2017 Indiana Pacers. That is exactly what has been done.
While Paul George may be warranted in his feelings and comments about the current state of the Indiana Pacers, it is important that he trust the process and allow the new-look Pacers to develop much-needed chemistry. If the Pacers want to “Get back into whack,” it is supremely important for the veteran group to find a way to play inspired basketball under Nate McMillan. This Pacers squad must set aside any expectations put on them by the fans, media, or the organization and revert back to playing unselfish, unpressured basketball.