Pacers coach Frank Vogel projects Paul George to start at power forward.
Vogel had hinted at the possibility of George, a natural wing, shifting down low in small-ball lineups for the past few months, and told reporters Thursday that he has an idea for his starting five to open the season. Though the situation can always change, the Pacers intend to enter the season deploying a smaller lineup.
“An idea on paper is to have a starting lineup of George Hill, Monta Ellis, C.J. Miles, Paul George and Ian Mahinmi,” Vogel told the Indianapolis Star on Thursday. The lineup would allow the Pacers to play in transition and increase their offensive pace.
George, a two-time All-Star who returned from a broken right leg to play six games at the end of last season, has been a strong rebounder throughout his career and can defend multiple positions. However, he's served largely as a small forward in his first five seasons, while also seeing some time at shooting guard.
The Star reports the idea came from Pacers president Larry Bird, who has also been teasing plans to use George at the four position.
“I’m the one who thinks he can play the four,” Bird told NBA TV in July. “I think the mismatches on the offensive end are greater than the defensive liability he’ll have. I think he can handle it.”
George, however, is not as confident in his ability to make the transition to power forward. He went on 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis and seemed less than excited when asked about the move.
PG: “It’s not what I came into the league as. I don’t think I’m at that point in my career where I should be changing positions.” (3 on 3)— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) September 24, 2015
While it seems that he would rather not make the move down low, George said that he can see the positives in it.
- Jeremy Woo