Pacers president Larry Bird and head coach Frank Vogel put on a brave face, went before the media on Tuesday (you can see the entire press conference at the Pacers Web site) and said everything is going to be fine with the Pacers, this season and beyond.
We all know that’s not true. Indiana will play hard next season but the team ranked 23rd in the NBA in points per possession last season just lost their two leading scorers, ball handlers and shot creators. Lance Stephenson is gone to Charlotte as a free agent.
Paul George went down playing for Team USA with a ghastly compound fracture of his leg. In their public comments, Bird confirmed that George is likely out for the season.
“We also know we’re not going to replace Paul, you just can’t replace Paul George,” Bird said.
“No one has told us he’s going to be out for the whole year, but our conversations, me and the coach’s conversations, we’re sort of expecting him to be out for the whole year but we don’t really know… If he can play, he’s going to play,” Bird added.
“A full recovery is expected,” Vogel said, adding that since the injury pretty much everything had gone as well as could be hoped for (there was not serious vascular or nerve damage with the compound fracture, for example).
As for their goals for the next season, well, what did you expect them to say?
“My goal is to win as many games as we possibly can and to get into the playoffs,” Bird said.
Vogel confirmed that the offense is going to go mostly through Roy Hibbert and David West in the post. The team added C.J. Miles for shooting and they have Rodney Stuckey now. Expect George Hill to show much more on offense now that he won’t be asked to just be a caretaker bringing the ball up.
But none of that is Paul George or Lance Stephenson.
Which is why the Pacers need to explore the idea of trading Hibbert and other possibilities. Not that it will happen, but they need to look at all their options right now, including a larger revamp of the roster.