The Pacers’ best player from a season ago, Paul George, is out for the year due to injury. Their second best player on last season’s Eastern Conference runner-up team, Lance Stephenson, signed with Charlotte.
Indiana returns only one player who averaged at least 11 points per game last season – David West, and he’s out. The popular darkhorse candidate to lead the Pacers in scoring – Rodney Stuckey – is also sidelined.
Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports:
Indiana has just two preseason games remaining before their regular-season opener Oct. 29, so we still don’t know much about the severity of these injuries (though we know West is using a cane, which is a very West way to handle it). Maybe West and Stuckey will return for the regular season.
But if either is out longer, the Pacers are in even bigger trouble. Their offense was rocky last season – and that was with George and Stephenson. West and Stuckey are two of their biggest weapons now, and a scheme built around Roy Hibbert and George Hill doesn’t exactly scream playoffs.
Indiana’s thin margin to reach the postseason is shrinking.