. .this is going to get ugly.
Paul George is probably done for the year with a broken leg, and Stephenson is grazing at purpler pastures. Down their two greatest perimeter players on defense and offense, the Indiana Pacers are going to fight in a big way.
Frank Vogel nevertheless has Roy Hibbert at the center, and George Hill will be one of the NBA’s better defensive point guards. So getting stops still ought to be a strength for Indy, but scoring is going to be rough.
Bear in mind, this team ranked 22nd in offensive efficiency last year. After the All-Star fracture, only the Sixers’ scoring strike was less powerful, per NBA.com. Taking away two of Indiana’s three leading scorers is going to make it nearly impossible to get buckets at anything greater than a bottom-five rate.
Maybe Chris Copeland will elongate the ground with his shooting. Perhaps Hibbert will become a larger threat on the block. David West could have yet another big year in him.
But even if all three of these things come to pass, it’s difficult to say they’ll compensate for losing George and Stephenson.
And in what might be the most terrifying harbinger of an offensive tragedy to come, Donald Sloan leads Indy in preseason points per game and will be the starter at point guard for up to three weeks while Hill’s left knee mends.