How Will the Absence of Paul George Affect the Pacers?

Steven Suarez

Monday, August 4, 2014 7:33 AM GMT

Now that their best player is set to miss the entire season, how will the Pacers cope? Has there been a dramatic shift in the futures odds? 

In what was one of the most gruesome injuries you're likely to see in sports, Paul George suffered a compound fracture to his tibia and fibula during a Team USA scrimmage on Friday.

It's obviously a devastating blow for George, who's set to be out from anywhere from 12 to 18 months. It's going to be a long road to recovery, and only time will tell if the two-time NBA All-Star will be able to come back strong.

 

NBA Odds Shift Dramatically
With George shut down for at least the 2014/15 season, Indiana's hopes of contending for the NBA championship, let alone the Eastern Conference championship have taken a massive hit.

We can essentially count out the Pacers from serious contention now.

Before the injury, Indiana was near the top of the futures list for the title and was right in the thick of things alongside Cleveland, Chicago, New York and Washington in the Eastern Conference futures.

My how things have changed. The Pacers can now be found at +6000 (at 5Dimes) to win the championship, putting them behind the likes of Brooklyn, Memphis and Toronto. They're still, however, ahead of teams such as the Hornets, Suns and Lakers.

 

Instant Reaction
In all honesty, we're surprised the change in the odds hasn't been even more drastic.

The Pacers are also without Lance Stephenson now after the two-guard accepted a deal with Charlotte over the summer. How can Indiana be priced ahead of teams on the rise like the Bobcats and Suns without two of their top three scoring options from last season?

Not only did George and Stephenson get it done offensively, they're also two of the better perimeter defenders in the league, so the Pacers are going to feel the effects in a major way on both ends of the court.

The impetus will fall on the likes of David West, Roy Hibbert, George Hill and Rodney Stuckey to carry the load. Aside from the tough-minded West, that's not exactly a group of players that inspires much confidence.

Looking at the roster, who is going to score for Indiana? This was already a team that struggled to put the ball in the basket, and now they're without the combined 36.1 points per game that George and Stephenson provided from 2013/14.

Frank Vogel has gotten props in the past for being a defensive mastermind, and boy will he be put to the test this coming season. The only way the Pacers will be able to stay competitive, barring any further major transactions, is by being a dominant team defensively. We're not holding our breath though.

 

Stay Far Away
It's going to be a long season for Indiana, there's no doubt about that.

Larry Bird's failure to make any significant deals over the summer (along with losing out on Stephenson) becomes even more detrimental now that George will be sidelined for the entire season. Unless Indiana is satisfied with not competing for trophies, Bird will need to make some moves in order to beef up Vogel's rotation.

It's a horrible situation and one that could have happened to any team and their star player, but it's the Pacers that have to cope this time around.

We recommend staying away from Indiana when it comes to placing your NBA picks, that is unless you plan on fading them. Things could get really ugly this season, assuming no more additions are made to the roster.