Paul George earns All-Defensive Second Team selection

The NBA announced their All-Defensive Teams today and the Pacers had one player selected to the Second Team: Paul George.

It was a close call for George. He had the least amount of points and first-team votes of any of the ten players selected. Jae Crowder nearly overtook George, but lost out on the final forward spot by one point (48-47). Two players that were not among the ten selected actually finished ahead of George in points, but Rudy Gobert (64) plays Center and Klay Thompson (49) is listed as a guard.  Continue reading Paul George earns All-Defensive Second Team selection

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Paul George appears in two new Papa John’s commercials

Paul George is no Peyton Manning when it comes to being a spokesperson in commercials, but he’s racking up his commercial IMDB credits, including two new commercials from one that Peyton is intimately familiar with: Papa John’s.

The first new commercial has Paul George and Papa John squaring off in a dunk contest.

Continue reading Paul George appears in two new Papa John’s commercials

Pacers “new voice” at coach is a familiar one

Only a couple of days after saying that Pacers “haven’t started yet” on the team’s coaching search, Larry Bird surprised everyone; the Vertical reported last night that the Pacers are finalizing a deal to promote Nate McMillan to head coach.

McMillan has been with the Pacers as the Associate Head Coach or lead assistant for Frank Vogel for the last three seasons. He took the job after Brian Shaw left the same position to be a head coach with the Denver Nuggets.

Continue reading Pacers “new voice” at coach is a familiar one

Mylestones: Turner gets invite for USA Basketball Select Team

Myles Turner accepted an invitation to participate with USA Basketball Team Select this summer. Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star reported the news:

It’s a big honor for the 20-year-old Pacer as he’ll get to train and scrimmage with the Olympic team for a week in the summer. Perhaps with his teammate Paul George if he decides to participate this year. It’s a way for USA Basketball to get young players involved and familiar with its culture early in their careers. It’s often the first step to eventually being on the Olympic team and a decent predictor of future success in the league.

Continue reading Mylestones: Turner gets invite for USA Basketball Select Team

2015-16 season iPacers prediction checker

Before the Indiana Pacers season started, I made some predictions for the season. So, to hold myself accountable, here’s my predictions and a verdict for whether or not it came true.

Prediction 1: Paul George will win the Comeback Player of the Year Award.

So, I found out soon after posting the predictions that this award does not exist in the NBA! It was replaced with the Most Improved Player Award sometime in the 1980s.

Verdict: Wrong. Nothing like predicting someone to win an award that doesn’t exist.

Prediction #2: Paul George will average a career high in points.

Paul George averaged 23.1 points per game in 2015-16 season. His previous high was 21.7. Very impressive to set a new career high in his first full season back from injury.

Verdict: Nailed it.

Continue reading 2015-16 season iPacers prediction checker

Solobling: How Solomon Hill went from benchwarmer to free agent commodity

In the span of two seasons, Solomon Hill went from leading all Indiana Pacers players in minutes to being stuck to the bench and from having Larry Bird waive the 4th-year team option on his cheap rookie deal to becoming a crucial part of the Pacers rotation down the stretch and in the playoffs.

This Solocoaster of sorts (please, forgive me) has been a bumpy ride for Hill, but his late season performance has more than likely put him out of the Pacers price range if they want to retain him. Here’s a look at his past two seasons with some lyrics from the Hotline Bling parody, “SoloBling,” sprinkled in throughout.

In 2014-2015 as Hill started 78 games and led the Pacers in minutes, his performance was mediocre at best; while he averaged 8.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists, he also had a Pacers-worst -9.6 on/off rating. He played his usual solid defense, made the occasional surprising forceful drive to the rim for a dunk, and struggled mightily with his jump shot (shot under 40% for the season).

🎶  Ever since the Summer League,
I wasn’t in the rotation as a wing now.
Everybody played and I felt left out,
but GR3 too young, and where is Chase now?
🎶

Continue reading Solobling: How Solomon Hill went from benchwarmer to free agent commodity

Flagrant 2 missed in Game 7 according to the NBA

You know that missed call that everyone was talking about at the end of Game 7? The NBA thinks that wasn’t the only thing missed by the referees in the 4th quarter.

The NBA announced today that Bismack Biyombo has been assessed with a Flagrant-2 foul from a play with 11:18 remaining in the 4th quarter. The foul was assessed for hitting Myles Turner in the head or neck area.

Here’s the play, courtesy of Scott AgnessContinue reading Flagrant 2 missed in Game 7 according to the NBA

Larry Bird undecided on Frank Vogel’s future with Pacers

UPDATE: Larry Bird made it official. Frank Vogel will not be the coach for the Indiana Pacers next season.

Last night, seemingly immediately after the Pacers season ended in a defeat to the Toronto Raptors, the offseason drama began for the Pacers with a Woj Bomb.

“Wait, what?” was the general reaction for Pacers writers, bloggers, and fans as well as the national media. Although Vogel was deservedly criticized at times for his rotations (STAGGER!) and inept offense especially late in games, he’s still a top young coach in the league. He’s a defensive wizard.  Continue reading Larry Bird undecided on Frank Vogel’s future with Pacers

How the Pacers have fared in past Game 7s

The Indiana Pacers face off in a series-deciding Game 7 tonight against the Toronto Raptors. In their NBA history, the Pacers are 3-4 in Game 7s, including 2-4 on the road. Here’s a brief overview of each one:

1994 Eastern Conference Finals

Indiana Pacers 90, New York Knicks 94


The first of the team’s Game 7s in their NBA History, the Pacers and Knicks faced off in the playoffs for the second-straight season. One of the epic series battles chronicled in one of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentaries: Winning Time. The Pacers came up short in this one, losing 94-90. Reggie Miller led both teams in scoring with 25 points.  Continue reading How the Pacers have fared in past Game 7s

Rodney Stuckey fools Cory Joseph with the ultimate ball fake

Rodney Stuckey could not have played worse in game five. He describes his own play as “sh*tty,” but that’s probably underestimating it. Stuckey finished 1 for 10, was a big culprit of the Pacers 4th quarter collapse and generally looked lost on the court at all times. His night was summed up in one vine:

So, how did Stuckey respond in game six with the Pacers one loss away from elimination? Godney rose from the ashes. He scored 8 points on 3 of 4 shooting and had 4 rebounds and 3 assists. A nice night for the backup wing, but he also had the highlight of the night and perhaps the series when he did this to Cory Joseph.

Amp Harris also uploaded a video from courtside with an incredible view of the play. (You can see him and Mike Epps at the bottom right of the Vine above.  Continue reading Rodney Stuckey fools Cory Joseph with the ultimate ball fake

Now presenting: Solo Bling, a Hotline Bling Parody

UPDATE: FULL VERSION AVAILABLE HERE 

Late in game four, Solomon Hill gave a shout out to Raptors’ fan/ambassador/celebrity, Drake, after hitting a 3-pointer with the hotline bling hands (No idea what I should actually call those). Matt Kryger of Indy Star captured this picture that inspired this silly tweet on the iPacers twitter account:

So, I couldn’t let well enough alone and in honor Hill’s improved play throughout the season, I present an original (perhaps terrible) parody lyric, entitled “Solo Bling.”  Continue reading Now presenting: Solo Bling, a Hotline Bling Parody

Mahinmi puts team on his ailing back, Pacers tie series 2-2

In the first three games of the series, the Pacers offense was essentially a one-man show: Paul George. After losing two straight games, Pacers coach Frank Vogel had a simple message for his team: “Trust your teammates.”

“The message before the game was to really move the ball and play for each other,” Ian Mahinmi said. “That’s what we did from the very first minute.”

The results? The Pacers blitzed the Raptors early to a first-quarter lead of 28-14 and never looked back as they tied the series at 2-2 with a 100-83 victory.

“Everyone has to be options for us, offensive threats,” Paul George said after the game. “Tonight, they were, and we exploded on offense.”

The two biggest benefactors to the Pacers devotion to sharing the ball were Ian Mahinmi and George Hill, who went from scoring 40 points combined in the first three games to scoring 44 points combined (a team-high 22 points a piece) in game four as they both had perhaps their best games of the season.

“I can’t take credit for this today,” Mahinmi said of the best game of his career. “Most of my shots were dunks and shots under the rim … my teammates really did an awesome job of finding me.” Continue reading Mahinmi puts team on his ailing back, Pacers tie series 2-2

The Warning Signs & Bright Lights from Game One

Thanks to a sizzling second half from Paul George (27 points on 10 of 13 shooting), the Indiana Pacers defeated the Toronto Raptors 100-90 and lead the series 1-0.

It’s a huge win to open the playoffs as the team that wins game one wins the series 77% of the time, but if the Pacers want to cause the Raptors to go home after the first round for the third straight season via defeat to a lower-seeded team, there were some problematic areas that the Pacers can’t allow to become series-long trends.

Continue reading The Warning Signs & Bright Lights from Game One

Paul George enjoys some popcorn on the bench

The Pacers clinched their 5th playoff appearance in their last 6 seasons (or they have made it every year that Paul George has had two healthy legs) by blowing out the Brooklyn Nets.

At one point in the 3rd quarter, the Pacers led by 40, so the starters were free to sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the game. Paul George even managed to get a snack from a young fan sitting behind the home team’s bench. 

Paul George hasn’t been able to sit out a lot of final quarters this year, so it’s good to see him taking advantage of it.

  
Get your popcorn ready, Pacers fans! The Pacers are in the playoffs for the 21st time since 1990, which is the second most in the NBA over that time period. They will face either the Toronto Raptors or Cleveland Cavaliers.

Debut Diary: Newly acquired Ty Lawson

Ty Lawson officially signed with the Pacers this morning and will play limited minutes tonight against the behemoth, almighty Spurs from San Antonio. The information that follows are my thoughts before, during, and after the game.

Pre-game:

5:12 PM: While reading the many, many stories on the Ty Lawson addition, it seems my optimism for the move is rising. I was skeptical that the bad fit in Houston was (fully) responsible for Lawson’s abysmal career-low numbers: points (5.4), assists (3.4), PER (9.0), net rating (-14), and true shooting percentage (48%). All of these numbers aren’t just slightly lower than what Ty Lawson did during his career. They fell off a cliff. Lawson was good for about 16 points and 7 assists during his last four years in Denver. His PER has never been below the league average of 15 until this season. Continue reading Debut Diary: Newly acquired Ty Lawson

Pacers to sign Ty Lawson and buyout Chase Budinger

Larry Bird narrowed down his choices in the 2009 NBA Draft to two players: Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson. Bird went with Hansbrough, who played four meh seasons with the Pacers, while Lawson was a speed demon for the Denver Nuggets, averaging at least 16 points and 6 assists in each of his final four seasons with the team.

Recently, Bird even admitted that he blew the pick. But Lawson after getting another DUI over last summer, was traded to the Rockets for players, a protected 2016 first round pick, and a 2017 second round pick. Things did not work out for Lawson in Houston. He’s had his worst season as a professional: averaging a measly 5.8 points and 3.4 assists. It’s been such a bad fit that Houston bought Lawson out of his contract, and he is now free to sign with any team.

Now, Larry Bird, who never seems to lose interest in a guy once he becomes a fan of them (tried to trade for George Hill for multiple seasons, went after Chase Budinger when he was a free agent a few years ago), and Ty Lawson are now in serious negotiations according to Shams Charania of Yahoo’s The Vertical. Continue reading Pacers to sign Ty Lawson and buyout Chase Budinger

The Constant Evolution of Myles Turner

With the Indiana Pacers trailing by three points to the Oklahoma City Thunder with just under a minute remaining in the game, Monta Ellis drove towards the lane. As Steven Adams and Serge Ibaka converged to help, Ellis kicked it out to the open man standing in the corner ready for the pass behind the 3-point line, 19-year-old rookie, Myles Turner.

The rookie, who had only attempted two 3-pointers and had made none so far this season, calmly gathered the low pass at his feet and immediately rose with confidence to take the shot. Nothing but net. Tie game.

His first career 3-pointer and yet another Mylestone in the constant evolution of Myles Turner.

Myles Turner learned a new skill. Something that seems to happen nearly every game for the fast learning, hard working rookie.

“His biggest quality is that he’s not afraid. He’s never afraid, he’s never shying away from the moment,” Paul George said after the Thunder game, “He asks questions; he wants to learn, wants to get better, and works hard. It’s everything you want in a young player. He has it, and he’s going to be special for us.”

At the start of the season, it was clear that Frank Vogel didn’t want to put too much burden on the Pacers first-round draft pick. He was going to play off the bench at the 5 spot, so he could focus on learning just one position while he got used to the speed of the NBA game.

Myles came into the league with a couple of skills: A smooth jumper, his Turneround™ post move, and an impeccable sense of timing when it came to blocking shots. He used these skills to average 5.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in his first 18 career games and missed over a month and a half with a thumb injury. Modest numbers in about 18 minutes per contest, but you could still see flashes of his potential in every game.

Then the Pacers went on a 4-game Western Conference road trip and Myles Turner put on a nightly show. Turner averaged 20.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.8 blocks over the trip, including a 31-performance over the defending champion Golden State Warriors that made me tweet this:

“You would have to say fairly that he’s one of the most, if not the most, surprising players in the draft,” Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said to the Indy Star. “I think everybody pretty much knew he was going to be a good player, but I think a lot of people thought it would take more time than this and he’s playing very well.”

Turner was starting to show off even more skills: preventing dunks with blocks that recalled the memory of Roy Hibbert’s block on Carmelo Anthony in the playoffs, hook shots in the post, crafty, quick finishes in the lane. While he was still out of position at times on defense and Vogel knew it might be a “roller coaster,” Myles Turner was moved to the starting lineup, where Pacers fans hope he stays for a good 12-15 years.

Not only is Turner starting, but Vogel is playing him at power forward alongside Ian Mahinmi. While Mahinmi has recently struggled to stay on the court, the Pacers are now 4-1 when the tandem starts the game.

“I don’t know how fast and how far he develops in the final 29 games,” said Vogel in Candace Buckner’s great profile on Turner, “but it will be a big factor in what our ceiling is.”

The result is a rare mix of spacing on offense, but an abundance of rim protection and rebounding on defense. Turner is blocking anything that comes near him at the rim and that includes serving up some smothered chicken to LeBron James.

In the OKC game, assistant coach Popeye Jones told Turner that he wasn’t doing much on defense according to Jeremiah Johnson. Turner responded with 5 blocks in the 3rd-quarter alone.

The lineup is just touching the surface of its potential in terms of spacing now that Turner can take open corner threes. As Turner proves he’s ready to hit the long range shots and Vogel gives him more freedom to take those, the spacing will continue to grow on offense.

The end result may be Larry Bird finally getting that fast paced offense with lots of free flowing movement and spacing, and Frank Vogel playing his preferred style of having two bigs on the court at all times. The best of both worlds.

The always growing skillset of Myles Turner can do that for you.

Myles Turner signed 8×10 giveaway:
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Don’t Yawn. Mahinmi’s Improvement is Impressive

This has been a season of change for the Pacers, a year of transition: going from exclusively using slow, traditional lineups to having the flexibility of using both faster spread lineups and traditional lineups and from having an elite defense that forces inefficient mid-range shots to sending out an above average defense that forces a lot of turnovers; Paul George has returned and is better than ever. C.J. Miles is playing as a stretch four after 10 years of being a wing. There are seven players on the roster that were not on the Pacers a year ago. George Hill is blonde. Out of all of this sudden change, none of it has been more surprising than the vast improvement of everything in Ian Mahinmi’s offensive skill set.

Shooting. Passing. Dribbling. Catching. Footwork. You name it; Ian Mahinmi got better at it over the off-season, an incredible feat for a veteran entering his eighth season in the Association.

Continue reading Don’t Yawn. Mahinmi’s Improvement is Impressive

How C.J. Miles Saved the Pacers Season

Sharpshooter C.J. Miles saved this season for the Pacers and perhaps even many seasons in the future. I’m sure you’re thinking, “CJ Miles? I think you misspelled Paul George.” And, sure, you’re right; if we’re talking about saviors, then Paul George is clearly Jesus for the Pacers. But C.J. Miles is John the Baptist. I imagine you may feel a lot like Miles below, but stay with me for a second:

CJ Miles shocked.gif

letmeexplain.gif

Continue reading How C.J. Miles Saved the Pacers Season

iPacers Biweekly Wrap: 11/8/2015 – 11/22/2015

The Pacers played 7 games in the last two weeks and only lost 2 games by a combined 5 points. They are now 8-2 in their last 10 games over the 0-3 start and sit at 4th-place in the East. In this 10-game stretch, the Pacers have had the best defense in the NBA by advanced metrics and currently have the 5th-best net rating in the NBA for the entire season. The Pacers defensive philosophy may have changed, but it’s as good as ever. Forcing turnovers was never a focal point in year’s past, but they currently average the 2nd-most steals per game in the league and forced 54 turnovers in the last two blowout victories against the Sixers and Bucks. Here’s some quick analysis on each player over the last two weeks:

1. Paul George: Paul George has never played better in his career than he has in the past two weeks. At this point, it’d be surprising if he doesn’t earn the Eastern Conference Player of the Month. While Paul George’s streak of 26 points came to an end at 8, it only happened in a game the Pacers won by nearly 40 points where George “only” scored 20 points in the first three quarters while sitting on the final frame of the blowout. No one is more responsible for how well the Pacers have been playing their past 10 games than PG.
Previous 2-weeks Stats: 21.5 PPG, 9 RPG, 4.3 APG, 2 STL
Previous Grade: A-
Current 2-weeks stats: 27.7 PPG, 8 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.3 STL
Current Grade: A+

Continue reading iPacers Biweekly Wrap: 11/8/2015 – 11/22/2015