A year or maybe two too late, the Indiana Pacers are joining the small-ball and stretch ‘4’ trend, turning Paul George, coming off almost an entire season of missing basketball, into a modern power forward, something it’s difficult to adjust to.
A broken foot kept George out for almost the entire season, as the Pacers somehow managed to stay in touch with the playoffs until the very end, before falling off with a returning George, who couldn’t do much.
Maybe it was last season or even the disappointment of the 2014 conference finals, losing to the Miami Heat once again despite having home court advantage, but the Pacers knew it was time for a change. Roy Hibbert was moved, David West left. The Pacers are different, and maybe now more suited to the developing offensive trends in the NBA, or at least trying to be.
George was the third or fourth best small forward in the NBA before his injury. Now he’s going to be playing a lot of minutes at the ‘4’, which should help him and the Pacers create a lot of mismatch problems for bigger, slower players while putting a very good shooter at the position. But George, one of the best perimeter defenders in the league prior to the injury, is going to have his own problems on the other end.
Guarding bigger players isn’t just a difficult thing to do. It takes more out of you during a game. George is also going to be up against players more adjusted and comfortable in this situation. But the Pacers seem fixed on going through with this change, and hopefully George isn’t going to disappoint himself and the team in a very different chapter for him in his career. Needless to say, because of his past ability and salary, the Pacers can’t afford this change to fail.