The Indiana Pacers are one of the best stories of the early NBA season. At 16-11, the Pacers have outperformed expectations by a significant margin, finding themselves in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race, rather than being in the mid-lottery as many anticipated.
The Pacers have gotten off to their strong start despite losing their superstar forward in the offseason after Paul George pushed his way out of Indiana by alerting the team he wouldn’t re-sign in free agency in 2018, signaling to the Pacers’ brass they should move him or lose him for nothing.
Indiana was able to eventually find a palatable deal for George, sending him to Oklahoma City in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. At the time, the trade was widely panned as most felt the Pacers had settled for far too little in return for George simply to ship him to the Western Conference. However, through mid-December, Indiana appears to have gotten the best of the deal.
Oladipo has been a revelation, averaging 24.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4 assists per game, while Sabonis has been great with the second unit, averaging 12.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Conversely, George and the Thunder have gotten off to a rough start at 12-14 and the transition period in integrating Oklahoma City’s trio of offensive superstars has not gone as smoothly as many expected.