Pacers news: Before the massive offseason of the Los Angeles Clippers which saw them land two of the best two-way players in the NBA today, All-Star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George was close to teaming up with the Indiana Pacers before.
The Pacers did draft Kawhi back in 2011, but then traded him to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for George Hill. This allowed PG to be the lone superstar in Indiana, and he made the team a championship contender.
However, George admitted that he was a bit nervous when Indy used their 15th overall pick to select Leonard, per Rachel Nichols of ESPN.
“I was little nervous. Just because, you know, we play the same position. Immediately it was like aight, I need to work on something because they’re bringing in reinforcements right away.”
Given how Kawhi’s career has transpired over the first few years, PG had the right to feel that way. If Leonard evolved into the player that he is now even while playing with George, it is possible that the latter would’ve been traded, as they are playing the same positions.
It is also possible for the Pacers to have kept both, and they could’ve become the best team in the East for a long time with those two leading the way. It is unclear if Kawhi and PG were enough to prevent the rise of the Golden State Warriors, but they would’ve been able to at least stop LeBron James from making eight consecutive NBA Finals appearances.
Even George himself said that it would’ve been nice if he had the chance to play with Leonard during his days with the Pacers.
“...it would’ve been amazing to see what we could’ve did in Indiana.”
Well, PG will finally get the chance to play with Kawhi, as they begin their era with the Clippers. They are projected by many as the favorites to win next year’s NBA championship, and a lot of people believe that they will be the next dynasty in the league.
Still, it wouldn’t be an easy road for the Clippers next season, as they will have to face a lot of championship contenders from both conferences. From their Staples Center co-tenants the Los Angeles Lakers, to the Milwaukee Bucks of the East, they would be challenged on a nightly basis.
Then again, George and Leonard are ready to take center stage, and they will be willing to take out any team who will stand in their way.
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