After a subpar postseason performance, the Indiana Pacers will be looking to readjust their focus heading into the newly established Eastern Conference. The Pacers did not make any significant additions to bolster their roster in the off-season, but did take a major blow after Lance Stephenson announced he signed with the Charlotte Hornets on a three-year, $27 million contract.
With the loss of Stephenson, George will have to take on more of an offensive role in order for the Pacers to succeed. When asked about the departure of Stephenson and how he will compensate for the loss of production, George decided to reference Kobe Bryant, via Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports:
“Coming into next season I need to be in the 25-30-point mark. I got to get back to that old Kobe, T-Mac, 25-shots-a-night kind of guy.”
Although he is accurate on his description of Bryant, the veteran shooting guard has only averaged 25 shots per game or higher in the 2005-06 season. If George is trying to replicate those numbers, he does have a tall task ahead of himself.
In the 2005-06 season, Bryant averaged 35.4 points, 4.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game finishing second in the MVP voting. Along with those numbers, the 18-year veteran had his 81-point performance and 27 games in which he had over 40-plus points.
It’ll require a career year from George in order for the up-and-comer to begin getting recognition as a legitimate superstar. In many facets, a comparison to Bryant’s statistics may be accurate after the postseason debacle of Roy Hibbert and lack of help from the bench. For a team with deep postseason aspirations, a new approach may be needed in order to have any chance of succeeding moving forward.
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