The Indiana Pacers are only seven games into their 2016-17 season, but there appears to be some turmoil brewing internally.
The Indiana Pacers lost 122-100 to the Charlotte Hornets Monday, which pushed their record to 3-4 on the season. Originally, the assumption was these issues would eventually be figured out at some point. However, that might not be completely true based on one player’s recent comments.
Pacers’ star Paul George voiced his concerns about the team’s struggles following the loss in Charlotte.
"“We’re all out of whack. There’s no trust, there’s no chemistry, there’s no belief. We’re kind of just lifeless right now.”"
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George’s frustration with this year’s Pacers is coming out of nowhere. The lack of trust and communication between players can be seen both on the court and on paper.
The Pacers’ are allowing 113.0 points per game, which is currently the second-most in the NBA. They have only prevent their opponents from scoring under 100 points once this season.
At the same time, opponents are making 47.5% of their field goals (highest in NBA) and making 35.3% of their three-point shots.
Coming into this season, the Pacers’ defense was supposed to decline. They knowingly implemented a new offensive system that did not stress defense as much as previous years.
However, their defense should not look this inept. Head coach Nate McMillan needs to get the team locked in on defense more often. Obviously, this team’s strength is scoring points, but they need to limit opponents from scoring frequently if they want to earn more winning results.
The good news about the Pacers is their offense. It is clear the ball is moving around, and the ball is finding its way to the players who have open looks. They are averaging 26.3 assists per game, which is fourth in the league.
The Pacers are averaging 108.3 points per game, which is tied for sixth in the NBA. They have five players averaging over 10 points per game (George, Myles Turner, C.J. Miles, Jeff Teague, and Thaddeus Young). Specifically, George leads the team with 20.4 points per game.
George has a clear case to be frustrated with his team right now. They are not playing to the level they should be, and as a result, they have had a rocky 3-4 start.
Hopefully, George’s recent comments helps spark a turnaround for the Pacers. The players need to be more motivated and engaged on the both sides of the ball equally.
Right now, the Pacers are unbalanced. Their offensive emphasis strongly outweighs their defensive energy. If they can even that out, the positive results will come.
As a side note, George was recently fined $15,000 by the NBA for kicking the ball into stands against the Chicago Bulls. After disagreeing with a foul call, George kicked the ball trying to hit the hoop’s stanchion.
Instead, he ended up kicking the ball into a Pacers’ employee’s face. He immediately apologized on the court after realizing what he did and send flowers to the worker the following day.