Scouting The Pacers

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Paul George

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George burst onto the scene this season, making his first All-Star team and winning the league’s Most Improved Player award. He averaged 17/7/4 on the season, shooting 42% from the floor, and 36% from beyond the arc. In the first round against Atlanta, George posted a triple-double in Game 1, and averaged 19/10/5 for the series. He has become the go-to player on offense for the Pacers, using a slashing style to get to the rim with ease.

Digging a little deeper, however, some cracks in his game appear. During the regular season, George shot over 44% from the field, and a blistering 42% from three-point land at home. He averaged over 19.3 ppg in the confines of Bankers Life Fieldhouse. On the road, though, his scoring dipped to 15.6 ppg, and his FG% plummeted to 39%, with an eye-popping 29% from three.

In Round 1, the disparity was even more drastic. Take a look at George’s home/road splits against Atlanta:

Home: 23.7 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 6.7 apg 50% FG

Away: 13.7 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 3.3 apg 32% FG

Obviously, his scoring was slashed nearly in half as he struggled from the field (mostly battling against Josh Smith after an adjustment by Atlanta in Games 3 and 4). Also of note, is his decline in assists. The Pacers rely on George not only for his individual scoring, but also his play-making ability.

The Knicks will most likely stick Iman Shumpert on George, and try and match quickness with quickness. In the four regular season matchups between Indiana and New York, George averaged 20 ppg on 43% from the field. Shumpert will have to make George an outside jump shooter. He’s not yet an elite level shooter, especially from deep. Shumpert has the size and speed to stay with George. If he can make George into a pedestrian shooter - like he did to Paul Pierce - the Knicks will be in great shape.

Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images