The NBA season is early, so it’s unfair to be making any judgements about certain teams or even players. But, with the Magic, Pistons, and Pacers all in the top half of the Eastern Conference (Orlando is tied for first), regular season storylines have been hard to come by this season. The Cavaliers have been playing terrible, but for Cleveland it won’t matter till April comes around. Golden State hasn’t been as dominant to start the season, as they’ve started off the season currently 5-3.
Although judging players through the first 8 games is unfair, it’s a lot easier to judge a player than a team, as the player just has to do his part while everything from ownership to the players have to gel in a successful franchise. After a legendary summer that saw multiple superstars dealt, many thought fans would see some new teams making noise. But, a team that fans thought would take a step back was the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers traded star SF Paul George this offseason after he told the franchise he had no plans of re-signing in free agency. With a young team with seemingly little talent, the Pacers’ expectations for this season aren’t high. But, after a 5-3 start, fans are wondering if the Pacers can be competitive this season.
Victor Oladipo has emerged as a star for Indiana, and after wins over Cleveland, San Antonio, and Minnesota, not only have fans wondered if the Pacers could be solid, many people have actually questioned if the Thunder really did win the trade.
Victor Oladipo is playing like an all-star, and Sabonis is averaging a double-double. Did the Pacers outthink everyone on the PG13 deal?
— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) October 29, 2017
Thunder Acquire Paul George from Pacers for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis
My Initial reaction:
“This seems like a desperation move from Indiana, as there were reportedly better offers throughout the season and draft. Notable rumors included the Hawks offering four 1st round picks and the Lakers offering Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and 2 first round picks. But, with free agency coming up in a couple of hours, it was important for the Pacers to strike a deal, and that’s exactly what they did.”
“Sabonis or Oladipo don’t have star potential, but it’s important that the Pacers were able to move George after he told them he would be leaving after next season. As for the Thunder, this is a risky move, but if George stays long-term in OKC, it will be a steal. Westbrook and George will look to light up scoreboards next season and hopefully challenge the Warriors in the Western Conference.”
Oladipo: 23.8 PPG (12th in NBA), 50% 3P% (T-1 in NBA)
Sabonis: 13.1 PPG, 11.1 RPG, .5 BPG
George: 19.6 PPG, 40.4 3P%
Victor Oladipo hits a go-ahead 3 over LaMarcus Aldridge and he's shouting "This is my city"
— Dakota Crawford (@DakotaCrawford_) October 29, 2017
Looking Back on the Trade
Saying after 8 games that the Pacers won this trade is ridiculous, as only time will tell. Paul George will make a huge impact on an OKC team looking to spoil the Warriors’ repeat bid. By having George, the Thunder are a better team than if they had Oladipo and Sabonis.
But, that’s not to say that Indiana messed up the trade. Victor Oladipo has looked like an all-star and Domantas Sabonis has looked like a starting center at times. And with both under contract for a while, the Pacers jump-started their future with this trade.
There are a few specific moments to see who won this trade. If Paul George can lead the Thunder to the Western Conference Finals or the NBA Finals, the Thunder will have the upper hand. But, the biggest key is what Paul George decides to do in free agency. If he decides to stay, it’ll be a clear win for the Thunder. Having one of the league’s best locked under contract is the best place you can be in the NBA.
Victor Oladipo with the game-winning 3!
He’s scored 28, 28, 35, 23 over last 4 games. Shooting 60% over last 3. pic.twitter.com/jRbEPZ6RJq
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 29, 2017
But, if George decides to leave, things change. Oladipo and Sabonis look to have very bright futures in Indiana. Oladipo is in his hometown, and it’s not farfetched to say that he could be the next budding star. With Oladipo having three years left on his deal and Sabonis in his second season, the Thunder would trade two key pieces for 1 year of Paul George. That would look bad.
But now, it’s too early to say who won the deal. The Pacers probably won’t be any good this season, but Oladipo and Sabonis give Pacers’ fans hope. On the other side, the Thunder have high expectations, and they will control how this trade ends up.