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Paul George says he is ready to step into No. 1 role with Pacers

Aug 16, 2013, 12:50 PM EDT

Paul George AP

Danny Granger is back. Roy Hibbert is a force in the paint. David West is a rock solid voice in the locker room.

But the Pacers are becoming Paul George’s team.

And the All-Star entering his fourth season told the Indianapolis Star he is ready to take on that top role.

“This whole summer, I really trained being the go-to guy and the lead guy for our team. Last year, we still had Danny and did not know the results (of Granger’s injury) coming into the year. I had a role that I had kind of prepared for and trained for. This year, it was more about training to be the No. 1 guy and lead this team.”

George spent part of his summer at the Team USA mini-camp where Mike Krzyzewski and the USA Basketball staff got a good look at the young talent in the league. He left that camp with people saying he’s pretty much a lock to be on Team USA in Spain for the World Championships next summer.

George is the leader now and the Pacers did a very good job this summer upgrading the team’s bench with Luis Scola, C.J. Watson and Chris Copeland. The Pacers are contenders.

There are just two key questions and they both revolve around George.

First, can George and Danny Granger mesh fully? Second, if they can, how far can George’s versatile game take them? Because right now Pacers fans are thinking title run, and the Pacers should be in that mix.

  1. kb2408 - Aug 16, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    One would think that their games “should” mesh. Granger has to accept the fact that he might be the 2nd, 3rd (or perhaps even 4th) option on offense behind P.G., Roy and maybe even West. With that being said, Indy will have very balanced scoring Their leading scorer might not average twenty points. But they will also have 3 or 4 other players scoring in double figures. They are going to be a very, very good team. Especially if Granger stays healthy and buys in.

  2. 00maltliquor - Aug 16, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    Huh? Thought he already did that last year.

  3. hungryhungryhibbert - Aug 16, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    We are thinking title runs … Built not bought!

    • spursareold - Aug 16, 2013 at 2:18 PM

      “Built not bought!”

      George Hill and David West say hello.

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 16, 2013 at 2:33 PM

        And I think I see Luis Scola, Chris Copeland, and C.J. Watson arriving fashionably late to the party too! Hello gentlemen…..

      • nsideindy - Aug 16, 2013 at 9:28 PM

        West was a free agent…but they traded for G Hill in the Kawhi Leonard trade.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Aug 16, 2013 at 2:43 PM

      Would you mind explaining why it’s so great drafting players and so wrong signing or trading for them? It seems like small market sore loser talk to me.

  4. antistratfordian - Aug 16, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    He has a loooooooooong (that’s 10 o’s) way to go before he’s a legitimate No. 1 franchise star.

    3 years in the league, 15.9 career PER. He’s well positioned to be the next Rudy Gay.

  5. metalhead65 - Aug 16, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    he should not have to worry about granger as he has said he would have no problem coming off the bench and even if he did he is getting paid 20 million so he should shut up and do what he is told to do. add him to the other guys they added this off season and the pacers have a bench that will be tough to deal with.

  6. rmo42 - Aug 16, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    I like Paul George. He seems like a laid back, humble dude. Glad to see him coming into his own.

  7. saint1997 - Aug 16, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    They have to trade Granger, maybe get a dynamic 2 in return (i.e. Gordon)

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 16, 2013 at 6:20 PM

      They’re both dynamic. So dynamic that they miss whole seasons with injury.

    • metalhead65 - Aug 16, 2013 at 6:39 PM

      they can’t trade him until he plays and shows he that he is at least half the player he was. and if they do trade him why trade for guy like gordon who is always injured? the guy has missed more games than he has played since coming into the league. why strap the pacers with his contract if won’t be healthy enough to help them?

  8. onlyavoice - Aug 16, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    If Granger Is Healthy & Is In Shape We Could See The Pacers Implode From The Inside.
    I Think George Needs To Humble Himself Some. Publicly Declaring Himself The Man
    On a Team With Such Other Glaring Ego’s Can Turn The Teammates Who Made You Look Good
    Turn On You Also, With Or Without Granger.
    Ambassador Lebrons Walk Over Went To His Head.

  9. adoombray - Aug 17, 2013 at 3:17 AM

    Watching Paul George come alive was the highlight of the East playoffs last year. The year before, they gave the Heat a better-than-the-numbers-show run for 6 too. That moment when George blasted past LeBron and postered Birdman followed by LeBrons long 3 to close the quarter, and then the two slapped hands like “ALRIGHT LET’S DO THIS” was the best 30 seconds of the playoffs last year. Paul George is the real deal.

  10. jimeejohnson - Aug 17, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    Pacers have the Knicks number, and should have an even easier time knocking them out this season. Carmelo cannot beat the Pacers by himself, and the rest of the Knicks are outclassed.

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