Central Notes: Pacers, Drummond, James

The Pacers won the Paul George trade, even if the Thunder happened to win it as well, Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star writes. The scribe, who memorably critiqued Indiana’s handling of the George saga prior to the deal, says that he didn’t initially appreciate Kevin Pritchard‘s haul for their disgruntled star.

While it seems likely that Victor Oladipo won’t end up averaging the 23.8 points per game he’s averaged through eight games so far this season, he’s a more valuable player than what he came across as during his lone season with the Thunder. It’s reasonable to expect the Pacers two-guard to continue to post a scoring average in excess of the 17.9 points per game he posted in his career-high season with the desolate 2014/15 Magic.

Of course the component that makes or breaks the deal will be Domantas Sabonis. Fortunately for the Pacers, the 21-year-old big man has looked excellent averaging 13.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in just 27.1 minutes.

Doyel compliments Pritchard for winning a trade that seemed unwinnable, considering the lack of leverage the Pacers were left with after George’s agent leaked that George wanted out.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons have had success running Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson in the pick-and-roll. Lately, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes, the big man has added a new tool, the ability to take his man off the dribble, giving the club another option to utilize on offense.
  • The business partner of Cavaliers forward LeBron James – long-time friend Maverick Carter – says that location won’t influence where James signs as a free agent next summer. “Could he sell a few more sneakers if he was in a gigantic market like Boston, Chicago, New York, or L.A.? Maybe. But not as much as if he wins. What matters the most is if he wins. When you win as an athlete that matters the most,” Carter said in an interview on The Rich Eisen Show (via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com).
  • After vastly improving his free-throw shooting over the offseason, Pistons center Andre Drummond should look to get to the line more, Ansar Khan of MLive writes. Historically terrible from the free-throw line, Drummond has shot 70% from the line in 2017/18. He could now benefit from attacking the basket more aggressively.
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