A few weeks into the season, they were perhaps the NBA’s most disappointing team. Now Indiana is sitting at No. 4 in the East, 19-13 on the year after winning eight of their last 10 games. Roy Hibbert is still struggling on the offensive end, shooting only 40 percent and averaging just 2.2 free throw attempts a game. But David West is dropping in his customary 17 and eight, and Paul George is unlocking new “attachments” in his game every night, stepping up his averages to 16.9 points and 7.3 rebounds.
As one of the top teams in the East (it feels crazy to say that after their early season start), most will argue the Pacers need at least one All-Star this year. And Indiana’s coach Frank Vogel told The Indianapolis Star of Paul George: “He’s definitely worthy of consideration. When you have a team that is fourth in the East, you usually get one or two All Stars who go. Our guys, we don’t have 25-points-a-game guys on our team, but David (West) and Paul are certainly playing at All-Star levels right now.”
West has always been solid. Outside of last season when his offensive game dipped below a 13-point average, the former Xavier star spent the past eight years giving New Orleans and now Indiana around 18 points, eight rebounds and four staredowns every night. It was enough to warrant All-Star selections in 2008 and 2009.
Then there’s Paul George, who’s giving the world a little taste of a 2000-era Tracy McGrady (in his final season in Toronto). He’s taking and making more three-pointers than ever, and his all-around game is growing seemingly every night. Ask Rudy Gay. Their matchup in the fourth quarter in Indiana on Tuesday night turned into a one-man show, with George completely taking over in more ways than one.
Once you get past the inevitable – LeBron, Carmelo and probably Kevin Garnett will man the starting frontcourt spots with Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo in the backcourt while players like Josh Smith, Chris Bosh, Joakim Noah, Paul Pierce and Brook Lopez will also probably find their way into the game – there will be a few open spots along the end of that Eastern Conference All-Star bench. I doubt both West and George make it, but I’m willing to bet one of them will.
Should these two be All-Stars?
Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.