Paul George is Back: Make Pacers -5 the NBA Pick Against Bucks

Jason Lake

Saturday, November 21, 2015 12:08 PM GMT

The Indiana Pacers are thumping the NBAl odds now that Paul George is back. They'll have another crack at it this Saturday against the struggling Milwaukee Bucks.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Nov. 19: 2-4 ATS

 

Paul George is back, and so are the Indiana Pacers. After sitting out most of last year with a broken leg, George is playing the best basketball of his career, and the Pacers are shredding the NBA odds at 7-5 SU and 8-4 ATS. It's as if George had never left – well, expect for the considerable roster turnover that happened this offseason.

The Milwaukee Bucks have arguably their most important player back, too. But Jabari Parker isn't quite ready for MVP contention just yet, and the Bucks are just 5-7 SU and ATS while Parker struggles to find his game after tearing his ACL last December. These two Eastern foes will meet Saturday night (7:00 p.m. ET) at The Fieldhouse, with Indiana opening as a 4.5-point chalk.

 

He's Lovable
There were some whispers a couple of years ago that George was a viable MVP candidate. Ridiculous whispers, but whispers nonetheless. Now George is playing a lot closer to that level, posting a career-best 24.4 PER and a very healthy +7.3 BPM through the first dozen games of the season. He's benefited greatly since moving to power forward in Frank Vogel's new smallball lineup, after some initial resistance. No complaints now, not after putting up 25.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.7 assists per 36 minutes.

Vogel and the Pacers had this transition in mind a couple years back, after getting rolled by the Miami Heat in three straight playoff series. The departures of center Roy Hibbert (now with the Lakers) and PF David West (Spurs) paved the way for George to make the switch. However, his supporting cast isn't being as supportive as hoped. SG Monta Ellis (12.6 PER, –0.8 BPM) hasn't quite found his footing in Indiana's offense, and point guard has been an issue withn George Hill (illness) and Rodney Stuckey (ankle) missing some games. Both are considered day-to-day.

 

Parker With a Problem
George could end up making a meal of his opposite number this Saturday. Parker (12.2 PER, –5.6 BPM) is playing at the 4-spot this year next to free-agent acquisition Greg Monroe at center, and while Monroe (22.7 PER, +2.8 BPM) is playing at an All-Star level, Parker has been one of the worst players on the Bucks this year. Not as bad as SG Greivis Vasquez (8.8 PER, –6.1 BPM), mind you, but bad enough.

Things could turn around for the Bucks, but at this point, it looks like last year's trade for PG Michael-Carter Williams (14.0 PER, –2.7 BPM) has hurt the team more than it's helped. They still have swingman Giannis Antetokounmpo (18.8 PER, +0.7 BPM), who's about to make the leap to All-Star status, and they've still got an underrated bench big in John Henson (20.6 PER, +1.8 BPM) who can step in for Parker. Maybe a little more wheeling and dealing will fix things down the road; meanwhile, we're definitely putting Indiana in our NBA picks, and may the sphere be with you.

NBA Pick: Pacers -5 at Heritage

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