The Indiana Pacers unraveling.
The Pacers are struggling and its’ no coincidence that the NBA’s best team for most of this season has lost it’s identity since trading for former 76ers guard Evan Turner.
You would think that the Pacers have no reason to worry with a 46-16 record. This in fact is not the same Pacers steam that stormed out the gate and had people thinking they were going to go undefeated.
Indiana got thumped 112-86 by a Rockets team that actually looks like Indiana did earlier this season in terms of confidence. The Pacers have lost three in a row, and it’s actually the first time all season they’ve put together such a dismal stretch of basketball.
ESPN is reporting that the Pacers held a quick and impromptu players only meeting right after getting embarrassed by the Rockets. The way the meeting played out tells you a lot about the makeup of this bunch.
It started with Paul George and David West, two of the Indiana Pacers’ veteran leaders, crowding inside the small visiting coach’s locker room.
With their ankles still taped and their uniforms still on, there was an impromptu meeting taking place with hushed tones and grim faces. Sitting with his shoulder in ice at his locker, George Hill noticed and went over and slipped into the room. Then Roy Hibbert got up from his seat and stuck his head in.
Ten minutes passed, then 15. The team with the NBA’s best record is in its first legitimate funk of the year and it’s shaking the players up.
Evan Turner entered Friday nights ballgame against Houston averaging 11.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists since being trade, and has struggled to score inside 18 feet. Turner now has a 12.5 player efficiency rating, per Basketball-Reference, and the 15 minutes of basketball he played Friday night did nothing to justify his addition.
Turner actually had a brief altercation with James Harden that actually can some up what his addition has been like so far. Harden stopped Turner from laying the ball up after play had been stopped.
Turner was no more good afterwards and Harden went on to finish off a 28 point, 4 rebound, 4 assist night. The Pacers are trying to mold their game around Turner has played the majority of his minutes at the point guard position. Turner is more of a defensive liability than anything, and the Pacers are giving up double the points they normally would with Turner on the court. The struggles of star shooting guard Paul George coincide with Turner’s arrival, so you can see where the concern might come from.
I don’t think Indiana is in any serious trouble because David West won’t allow this team to simply bow out early in the playoffs. I can guarantee that Turner needs to step it up or he’ll be the odd man out during a Pacers run towards a championship.