When it comes down to what the Pacers should go to work on this training camp and preseason, I look for the offense to flow a bit more through the post area. Sure, Paul George is the primary scoring option. But that’s an option, and guess what the other options could be. Roy Hibbert and David West. Last post season, the Pacers made that effort to feed Hibbert the ball, and he delivered most of the way. West is a guy that you can just tell when he’s looking to score. He gets that look in his eyes, and drives it straight to the lane. Or pulls up for one of those gimme baskets that he can usually make. Then you add in Luis Scola, a consistent big man scorer coming off the bench. Ian Mahinmi could be a small scoring presence behind Hibbert could be huge. Even Chris Copeland is a bigger guy for his small forward position, and we’ve seen him step out for a long distance three a few times.
I think ultimately I look for Hibbert a lot more this season to get him in that right mind set. Last season, he was slow in the beginning, and really didn’t pick up till around the All Star Break. But then look at how well he played during those moments. If he’s able to sustain a season of that, he should be in the All Star game or at least contending for one of those spots. That’s why this season, he needs to come in with the right mind set. Everyone talks that he needs to just have that confidence right away, and maybe this is the year it finally all clicks together. In a game, you can usually tell how Hibbert is going to play with his first few touches. If he’s able to get some baskets in that first quarter, watch out, he could be headed for some 20 point game. I understand that mentality of people that want Hibbert to be at least near that mark every game, but then again, look at the Pacers offense, I don’t think any guy, outside of Paul George, will be consistently near that average of points. For me, if Roy Hibbert can get 12-15 points a game and 10 rebounds, then he’s playing fine. He’s obviously a double double threat every time out there, he just needs to know that himself.
As far as the other big guy in David West, I look for him to have another solid season. Another guy that can average a double double if he’s just getting the ball enough. He’s someone that could explode for those 20-30 point games a few times during the month, and I think if he can get around 15-20 points every time out, that helps out Paul George plenty in this offense. Everyone else just needs to be consistent about their own play, but I look for George, Hibbert, and West all to be up there as the “scoring” leaders for this Pacers team.
The big men of the Pacers need that mind set that they can dominate against some of the smaller teams. This training camp, the Pacers’ coaching staff needs to make it a point to feed those guys the ball early and a little more often than last season, so they can get their game going. If teams have to worry about the post area, then that opens up jump shots for the other Pacers that they’ll need to hit. It’s one of those advantages that this Pacers team can definitely have over most teams in the league. Let’s make it a HUGE advantage.