“You either win a championship, or play long enough to see your franchise president become the villain.”
Paul George can attest to that.
The Indiana Pacers were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs, making that A frustrated star itching to leave, this won’t help convince Paul George to stay. With that in mind, I wanted to look at the star forward’s years in Indiana, a chapter for this franchise:
Arrival, Early Success
Out of Fresno State University, George was drafted with the 10th overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft. In his rookie season, the Pacers went to the playoffs, but lost in five games to the Chicago Bulls. George averaged nearly (8) points and (4) rebounds a game.
In his Sophomore season, George scored his first (30) point game, and finished runner up to Jeremy Evans in the Slam Dunk Contest. Indiana went back to the playoffs, this time transcending to the second round where they would lose to the Miami Heat (who won the Finals that year).
George’s third and fourth season are where he really broke out as a star. His 2012-2013 performance earned him the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. Between 2012-2014 (two seasons) the Pacers went (105-58) losing the Eastern Conference Finals both seasons to the Miami Heat.
In the 2014 off-season, George was selected to workout for the Team USA roster that would go on to play the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. In a scrimmage game in Las Vegas, his career was changed:
-caution the following content is graphic-
It was officially ruled a compound fracture of both bones in his leg. Although he was ruled out for the 2014-2015 season, George still wanted to make a change to his gameplay; his uniform number. It was the end of jersey number 24, which he originally chose in honor of Kobe Bryant, his favorite player.
“Everyone knows PG-13 is related to television, so the whole thing is being able to enjoy the show and being fun to watch.”
-on changing his number from 24 to 13
Bill Simmons originally proposed the idea of PG-13, and the star forward would run with it, tweeting “trece” close to seven times before making it official.
Recent Years, George vs Bird
The 2015-2016 season was a bounce back year for George, and he played all but one game, with averages of: (23.1) points, (7) rebounds, and (1.9) steals per game. After finishing (45-37) the Pacers would go on to lose to the Toronto Raptors in the first round, 4-3. As I mentioned previously, the 2016-2017 season was met with new teammates and a determined squad, but again they would fall in the first round.
Let me take you back to the trade deadline. Larry Bird decided to listen to trade offers on his star forward Paul George, without informing the Pacers’ best player:
“You want me to be your guy here, thought I would have been in the loop a little more on trade talks.”
George was highly upset and discerned by the news of his name floating in trade offers, and nearly admitted that his free agency exit would be certain. Wanting to focus on the road to playoffs, tensions were set aside. Now, after losing time and time again, George’s career in Indiana may be through.
A stretch-forward, the Pacers will likely trade George before he can leave in free agency. A player of his caliber could benefit in more than one system, and will attract plenty of attention.
He has averaged: (18.1) points, (6.3) rebounds, and a (43%) from the field through (448) games and (7) seasons in Indiana. It’s the pinnacle of Pacerhood for Paul George, one of the greatest to ever play as a part of this franchise.
All stats and information provided by ESPN and NBA.com. Featured image provided by Ink on Indy via Google Images.