There is an abundance of Indiana Pacers news to discuss one week out from the 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend. According to SB Nation, the Boston Celtics are making inquiries about the availability of Pacers superstar, small forward Paul George. The Celtics are said to be pursuing a potential deal for a small forward, but they are not particularly interested in New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony. Boston is reportedly targeting George and Chicago Bulls superstar Jimmy Butler in an attempt to make a run at the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference race.
In order to secure a deal for Paul George, general manager Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics will have to convince Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird to listen to offers for his four-time NBA All-Star, but that isn’t going to happen. Bird is a stubborn man, and when he makes up his mind about something, he generally doesn’t budge from his stance.
Bird has made it clear that keeping Paul George beyond his current contract is a high priority for the Pacers, and Bird has already told George that he is ready to sign him to a max contract any time George wants to take that step. The Boston Celtics are one of the few teams in the league who have enough assets to make a legitimate run at Paul George, but if Danny Ainge calls, Larry Bird isn’t listening.
Center Myles Turner has been a revelation ever since coming to Indiana as the No. 11 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Turner had a very good rookie season, but he has built upon that in 2016-17, both in terms of his play on the court and his maturity. Fansided discusses the progress that Turner has made this season as a leader for the Pacers. In a recent game against the lowly New Jersey Nets, Indiana lost a 19-point lead as the game entered the fourth quarter. During a break in the action, Turner, who is only 20 years old and in his second year in the NBA, gave a pep talk to his veteran teammates, and it paid dividends.
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The Pacers rallied for a 106-97 victory, in no small part because of Myles Turner’s enthusiasm and leadership. Turner’s ascension on the court has been just as impressive this season, as he is currently averaging 15.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per contest. He is also shooting 52.4 percent from the field, and he has added an improved three-point shot to his arsenal, making 38 percent of his attempts so far this season. Larry Bird has said that Turner has a chance to be one of the all-time best Pacers players, and given Turner’s attitude and unfailing work ethic, he may eventually become just that.
Point guard Jeff Teague got off to a slow start this season, his first with the Indiana Pacers. Teague, the local product from Pike High School in Indianapolis, found his groove, and he is now playing some of the best basketball of his NBA career. The Indianapolis Star details the gauntlet of top-flight point guards that Jeff Teague must face on a regular basis.
This week, Teague has already had to match up against Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving. Tonight, Teague will go against another multiple-time All-Star, John Wall of the Washington Wizards. As daunting a task as that is, Jeff Teague has more than held his own. Over the last six weeks, Teague has averaged 16.7 points and 9.3 assists per game, and he continues to show improvement on the defensive end as well.
Thanks to a recent seven-game winning streak, the Indiana Pacers have moved up in several media outlets’ NBA Power Rankings. Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated and Marc Stein of ESPN both have the Blue and Gold at No. 10, while Gerald Bourguet of Hoops Habit rates the Pacers ninth in the NBA. Indiana has a very tough schedule before the All-Star Break next week, but they are certainly trending in the right direction as we move past the 50-game mark of the 2016-17 campaign.
[Featured Image by Michael Conroy/AP Images]