Paul George says he’s on board with Pacers’ new plan

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Paul George still doesn’t like playing the four — he’s not backing down from his opinion, reiterated after he had to go up against Anthony Davis in the Pacers’ preseason opener.

But after a “clarification” meeting with team president Larry Bird and coach Frank Vogel, George now wants to be clear he’s on board with the team’s new direction.

Yes, those two positions seem at odds, but that’s what George said after Pacers’ practice Monday. From Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

“I mean, there was clarification on what we’re (doing) going forward,” George added later. “That’s what it was, just clarification.”

When asked if the “clarification” meant changes to his role, George said: “We’re going to still stick with it, see how it works.”

Then, when quizzed if he’s OK with that, George responded: “I’m a part of this team.”

 

The Pacers transitioning to a team that wants to play small and fast — their preseason game against the Pelicans had 109 possessions. That’s going to mean going small a lot and trying to force teams to match up with them, and in the modern NBA that is the right direction to move. Against much of the Eastern Conference it should work well, but against some teams and matchups — say MVP candidate Davis and the Pelicans — George will find himself in a very difficult spot.

George is not comfortable at the four yet, especially with the physical nature of trying to defend and box out some bigger, stronger guys. George has spent his entire career on the perimeter, it’s a tough transition. But he’s going to have a lot of success this season at the four if he can stay healthy and as he adjusts. He just has to fully buy in and do it.

The Pacers play the Pistons on Tuesday, a game where George will be matched up against Ersan Ilyasova. That’s a place George can have a little more success and feel better about this.