Greatest All-Time Starting 5: Indiana Pacers
Here at Off the Glass we’re taking on the arduous task of going through every NBA teams’ greatest possible starting five, using players that have played for that franchise. A player at each position (Point Guard through Center) will be selected, along with a 6th man who can be any position.
This is how it works:
Players selected must have played at least two full seasons for the franchise
The selection will be based on a combination of statistics, accomplishments/accolades and their significance to the franchise in question
Players had to have predominantly played at that particular position for at least one season to be eligible
Let’s get started.
*Photo via Fox Sports
Point Guard - Mark Jackson: In 1994 Jackson signed with the Pacers and he brought his grit and leadership along with him. In the NBA the point guard position is one of the most crucial without question. During Jackson’s six seasons with the Pacers he averaged 10.2 PPG 9.8 AST 4.6 TRB. There isn’t much Jackson couldn’t do as a player, and he fit the role of leading an offense to a “T”. Although Jackson never won a ring while playing alongside Reggie Miller, the Pacers became a force when he signed.
Shooting Guard - Reggie Miller: Not only is he one of the greatest trash talkers of all-time, but he’s one of the greatest to ever back up his talking. From doing the iconic choking image at Spike Lee, to scoring 8 points in 9 seconds in a playoff game in MSG. Reggie Miller was a star. Miller is second all-time in career three-pointers made with 2560. Not to mention the all-time leading scorer in Pacers history. Miller averaged 18.2 PPG while shooting 39% behind the arc for his career. Miller had no fear of taking big time shots or playing in big time games.
Small Forward - Paul George: He’s still active, still progressing still. At only 26, Paul George is already on his way to being one if not the greatest player in Pacers history. Despite breaking his leg two years ago. George has returned a better player than before. He’s coming off a season where he averaged 23 PPG 7 RPG 4AST, and currently playing for team USA this summer. What makes George so valuable is he plays both sides of the ball. It seems he becomes more efficient scoring yearly while keeping himself as one of the best lockdown defenders in the league. George is a step away from true stardom.
Power Forward - George McGinnis: Now many of you including myself didn’t see McGinnis play. The follow up to that is, many of you probably have never heard of his name. However, McGinnis was one of the first greats in Pacers history, and was the major factor in the Pacers ABA titles in 1972 and 1973. McGinnis averaged 19.6PPG 10.7 RPG 3.3 AST in four seasons with the Pacers.
Center - Jermaine O’Neal: Despite eventually becoming injury prone later in his career with Indy. When O’Neil was first traded to the Pacers, not many thought he’d go from averaging 4PPG to averaging 18.6 PPG 9.6 RPG 2.4 BLK in eight seasons with the Pacers. O’Neal had a knack for being in the right place, whether it was for a rebound, a block or if he was posting up a player down low. O’Neal had his presence felt. In just his first year with Indiana, he tallied a league/career high in blocks with 228.
6th Man - Danny Granger: Now this position was hard to fill with guys like Mel Daniels, Clark Kellogg deserving recognition and possibly even the spot. However, Granger was the face of the franchise for several years following Miller's departure. And the “what ifs” are endless, if Granger never got hurt and stayed alongside the 22 year old Paul George. Granger in his best year averaged 25 PPG, while over his 9 years with Indiana he averaged 17.6 PPG 5RPG and sits at number 2 on the Pacers all-time three-pointers made list with 964. Granger wasn’t just a scorer, he was an above average defender too. During the first Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers playoff series, Granger put that defense on display against LeBron James. Granger helped the Pacers take a 2-1 series lead over Miami in 2012, despite eventually losing the series in 6 games after suffering the first of a long list of injuries.
Did I miss any of your favorite Pacers? Let me know if you agree or disagree – @KWalHoops