• Russell Schmidt

NBA Future Rankings 24. Indiana Pacers


*Photo via USA Today

The Indiana Pacers are a difficult team to rank because of the uncertainty of Paul George. Before George’s gruesome bone-snapping leg injury that cost him nearly the entire 2014-15 season, George was on the cusp of being the next superstar wing in the league. The jury is still out on whether post-injury George will produce at the same, or higher, level than pre-injury George. If ‘PG13’ comes back at 100 percent, the Pacers will have a 25-year-old superstar under contract for three more years to build their roster around. If he is at less-than full strength, the Indiana could find themselves in a similar situation as the Chicago Bulls; waiting for Derrick Rose.

The Pacers have many pieces to work with in both the short and long-term on the perimeter. Between Paul George, George Hill, Solomon Hill, and C.J. Miles, the Pacers have four returning rotation players that can dribble, pass and shoot. Indiana also re-signed Rodney Stuckey (3YR/$21MM) and added Monta Ellis (4YR/$44MM).

*Photo via Indystar

The question mark for Indiana is at the power forward and center positions. Roy Hibbert, David West, and Luis Scola are all out. In fact, George Hill and Paul George are the only two starters left from the Pacers teams that lost to the Miami Heat in the Conference Finals just two seasons ago. To revamp their big man rotation, the Pacers re-signed LaVoy Allen, added Jordan Hill, and drafted Myles Turner with the 11th pick in the draft. After Paul George, Myles Turner could be the most important player to the Pacers future. Turner is a big man who can block shots, rebound, and hit outside shots. Turner had all of these skills on display during the summer league where he looked outstanding. The Pacers need Turner to produce for them in both the short and long term.

Indiana will not receive or give up any future first round draft picks as of now. It is vital for the Pacers to hit big with their own draft picks because Indiana has never been considered a top destination for topflight free agents. Monta Ellis’ fit, Paul George’s recovery, and Myles Turner’s development will determine the success of the Indiana Pacers.

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Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com, NBA.com, ESPN.com

Salary cap and contract information courtesy of Spotrac.com, Hoopshype.com, Basketballinsiders.com

Future draft commitments and rosters information courtesy of RealGM.com

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