. .this will get ugly.
Paul George is probably done for the year with a broken leg, and Stephenson is grazing at purpler pastures. Down their two greatest perimeter players on defense and offense, the Indiana Pacers are likely to struggle in a big way.
Frank Vogel nevertheless has Roy Hibbert in the middle, and George Hill will continue to be one of the NBA’s better defensive point guards. So getting stops should still be a strength for Indy, but scoring will be rough.
Bear in mind, this team ranked 22nd in offensive performance this past year. Following the All-Star fracture, only the Sixers’ scoring strike was less powerful, per NBA.com. Taking away two of Indiana’s three leading scorers will make it almost impossible to have buckets at anything better than a bottom-five pace.
Maybe Chris Copeland will elongate the floor with his shooting. Perhaps Hibbert will become a bigger threat on the block. David West might have yet another big year .
But even though all three of these things come to pass, it is hard to say they will compensate for losing George and Stephenson.
And in what may be the most terrifying harbinger of an offensive tragedy to come, Donald Sloan leads Indy in preseason points each game and will be the starter at point guard for up to three weeks while Hill’s left knee mends.
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