The NBA is taking a break right now for the All-Star Weekend festivities, but there is still plenty of Indiana Pacers news to discuss. Star small forward Paul George has been making waves with some of his recent comments about the state of the Pacers and his impending free agency, but Fansided reports that George took a much more positive tone when he talked about the team with former NBA superstar Kevin Garnett during Garnett’s Area 21 television segment.
“I think we good, I think we good. We got an All-Star point guard in Jeff Teague. We got an underrated player in Thaddeus Young, who has been hurt for us. It’s been causing us problems right now. Al Jefferson, one of the best bigs off the bench. Monta Ellis is finding that fountain of youth again. Rodney Stuckey is coming off injuries. C.J. Miles is one of the best shooters in the league.”
“We got a team, man. I think the toughest part about it is, as you know man, is chemistry. Chemistry. And you putting a new team, a new nucleus together. We are trying to learn one another, we are trying to get comfortable with one another. We facing teams that have been together for some time now. That’s the battle we are fighting right now. Everybody wants to do well, wants to play well, we just don’t know how to do it.”
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It’s a plus for Indiana Pacers fans to hear Paul George making optimistic comments about the team, but those statements are only meaningful if his actions on and off the court reflect that same enthusiasm. Despite George’s public support of his teammates, rumor has it that president of basketball operations Larry Bird has been shopping Indiana’s first-round pick in 2017 in an effort to acquire another veteran player to bolster the roster, according to SB Nation. With power forwards Thaddeus Young and Lavoy Allen injured, George has said he needs more help, and Larry Bird is apparently trying to give it to him.
If Bird feels that trading the Pacers’ first-round pick in 2017 for a player who can help the team immediately is the best course of action, fine. The concern is that appeasing Paul George could be part of Bird’s thinking, since he knows George is much more likely to leave after next season if Indiana is not a contender in the Eastern Conference by that time. Doing what is in the best interest of the Indiana Pacers should always be what matters; not trying to make an individual player happy so he will stay long-term — even if that player’s name is Paul George.
On a lighter note, the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities are coming to a close, and the Indiana Pacers, as well as the state of Indiana have dominated those activities this year. Pacers swingman Glenn Robinson III won the 2017 All-Star Slam Dunk Contest, capping his victory by jumping over three people and flushing a reverse slam. Robinson jumped so high on his final dunk that his head appeared to graze the rim as he completed his attempt, as detailed by the Indianapolis Star.
Vigilant Sports shares that the state’s strong representation didn’t end there. Indiana University’s Victor Oladipo won the Talent Challenge, and Indianapolis native Eric Gordon, also an IU alumnus, won the NBA’s three-point shootout. Even the D-League’s All-Star festivities were dotted with Hoosiers, as former IU player Troy Williams won the dunk contest and Scott Wood of Marion, Indiana won the D-League’s three-point shooting competition. Rounding things out was Gordon Hayward (Brownsburg, Indiana and Butler University), who finished a close second in the NBA Skills Competition.
[Featured Image by Gerald Herbert/AP Images]