The Paul George power forward experiment kicked off quite nicely, although it’s just the preseason, and the 115-112 win over the Detroit Pistons doesn’t mean too much for the Indiana Pacers going forward.
But we can still try to decipher what we saw. And that included George scoring 32 points, including 20 in the first quarter, finishing with 24 minutes of game time and one hell of a statement heading into the new season in which he tries to re establish himself as one of the best players in the league, this time from a whole new position. It helped that he had Marcus Morris guarding him a lot of the time, but things might get more difficult on both ends of the floor against bigger, more traditional power forwards.
Jordan Hill started at center and scored 2 points while the backcourt of Monta Ellis and George Hill still needs a lot of work before it looks sharp and smooth. Ellis scored 10 points and gives the Pacers a kind of player, especially on the offensive side of things, they haven’t had in a very long time. George Hill scored 5 points to go with 8 assists, while C.J. Miles had 7 points, playing just 13 minutes.
Off the bench, it was Joseph Young who did most of the damage, scoring 18 points as the Pistons managed to come back from the huge lead they let the Pacers reach earlier, although not enough to change the outcome of the game. Glenn Robinson III, a former Michigan player, got booed quite heavily inside the The Palace, with more than one Michigan State fan in attendance. He scored 13 points, but it wasn’t a very good shooting night for a player who is already on his third NBA team before his second season begins.
Myles Turner scored 8 points as the Pacers played without a single natural center coming off the bench, as Ian Mahinmi was kept off the floor this time, probably to give other players a chance. The Pacers plan on playing a lot of small ball this season, so it’s not surprising that a player with very little to contribute offensively isn’t being heavily featured in the team’s plans for next season.
As for the Pistons, they don’t have any good point guards healthy right now, with Reggie Jackson, Steve Blake and Brandon Jennings (more long term issue) out with injuries, giving Spencer Dinwiddie the chance to not do very much on the floor. Stanley Johnson had a very good night off the bench with 26 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 22 points on 6-of-7 from beyond the arc while Andre Drummond looked dominant in the paint with 16 points and 9 rebounds.