A writer writes!
The Indiana Pacers were the surprise story of the early part of the 2013-2014 NBA basketball season. A record setting winning streak to start the season. Paul George being touted as a potential MVP candidate. But, the young squad of starters were not fully prepared to handle the winning environment. Once Paul George appeared on a late night television show, you could sense things would shortly start unraveling. The players were being intoxicated by the notoriety they were getting. They seemed to forget that they had not yet won an NBA championship. Winning in the regular season doesn't equate automatically to an NBA championship.
And unravel it did. After the all star break the Pacers were little more than an average team. GM Larry Bird sent away Danny Granger and a popular sub. In return he obtained a center with bad knees and Evan Turner who wasn't the player Bird thought he would be in the Indiana system. Lance Stephenson departed to Charlotte via agency when the Pacers did not want to give Lance the deal he wanted. Time will tell whether that was a good or bad Pacer decision.
Now Paul George is injured and likely out for the entire 2014-15 season. Does this open the door for the Pacers to become a lottery team and get an athletic player via the draft to go along with Paul George when he returns? If George does come back at the same level he was when injured, the horrific injury could turn into a painful way to get the super talented young sidekick needed to replace Lance Stephenson.
I haven't heard anyone openly questioning the player decisions made by Larry Bird over the past year. None of Larry's moves have panned out into improving the team. Larry spoke about bringing the core of the team back for 2014-2015. Instead the season will start with the top 2 scorers not being on the team. Yeah, it's possible that Roy Hibbert and George Hill could be working hard this summer. That hard work in a dream situation could translate to both those players averaging 20 points per game to make up for the loss of Lance Stephenson and Paul George. Even with that, the Pacers bench still needs to be better than it was last year.
Hey, the NBA has professional players on all the teams right? There is no need to panic. The remaining Pacer players will all band together and win enough games to qualify for the playoffs. Then falter in the first round. If that's the case, why go through all the effort to miss out on qualifying to draft an impact college player? Come January 1, 2015 we will have half an answer on what kind of year will the Pacers have while waiting for Paul George to return.