Perhaps the most obvious implication of Paul George’s injury is the hit the Indiana Pacers’ record will take. Last year, the team’s tremendous start was largely due to Paul George’s MVP-like play. PG played like a perennial first-team All Pro, lighting up opposing defenses and playing lockdown defense on opposing
teams’ best players. Towards the end of the year, when the Pacers started to lose more and more games, Paul George was not playing as well, as his stats dropped down to more mundane levels. It is, then, not a stretch to say that this team starts and stops with PG. Without him in the lineup, the Pacers lose their only great scorer and their best backcourt option on offense. The team will still play physically on defense, but scoring will be a real concern.
The Pacers will also face tougher competition in the Eastern Conference next year, as the Eastern Conference was, even for its standards, unusually weak last year. Chicago has re-upped, Cleveland will be scary, Miami is not to be overlooked, and Washington keeps getting better. Indeed, the Pacers may make the playoffs, but home-court advantage in the first round of the NBA Playoffs seems unlikely.