Louisville, Kentucky: Charron Elliott
Pacers Off to a Solid Start Early in the Season
It has only been a little over two weeks in the 2017 NBA season, but the Indiana Pacers have the third-best record in the Eastern Conference (5-3) after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-107 on Wednesday night. The Pacers had three players score 20 points or more in the game-Darren Collison (25), Victor Oladipo (23), and Thaddeus Young (26).
Coming into the season not too many NBA experts/fans expected much out of the Pacers, who traded away four-time All-Star Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Shockingly, Indiana is off to its best start through eight games since 2013 when the Pacers went on a nine-game winning streak to open the season.
The main reasons for the success of the Pacers are ironically the play of Victor Oladipo, who has led the team in scoring (23.8 ppg) and the rebounding of Domantas Sabonis Sabonis, who is averaging a team-high 11.1 rebounds per game. He has also shot an efficient 62 percent from the floor and leads the team in Player Impact Estimate (15.3).
The Pacers as a team have been magnificent offensively, ranking fifth in the NBA points per game this season (111.5), last season they were 15th overall (105.1). The Pacers are also among the top five currently in plus/minus (+10) and FG percentage of 59.0 (third best in the NBA).
So with all of this said do I think the Pacers are better without Paul George? Honestly, it is still early, and only the Playoffs will determine how much better Indiana has gotten without PG. However, I will say this, once Pacers’ big man Myles Turner comes back fully recovered from his concussion Indiana could be ready to make a run. In his only game, this season Turner tallied 21 points, 14 rebounds, and four blocks, granted it was against the Brooklyn Nets, but still, those are impressive numbers.
The Pacers next game will be Friday night against the high-flying Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center.