Indiana Pacers forward Paul George already has his pick to win the Eastern Conference next season.
The Pacers looked primed and ready to overtake the the Miami Heat last year, but had issues throughout the second half of the season that plagued the team. Indiana eventually fell to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals.
George is not picking his Pacers to rebound in 2014-15, though. He said that the Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron James will reign over the Eastern Conference.
“With Lance (Stephenson) being gone and everyone thinking this is going to be a rebuilding year for us,” George said earlier this week, via ESPN, “immediately when LeBron went to Cleveland, that made them the front-runners.”
The Pacers will be without budding star Lance Stephenson, who bolted to the Charlotte Hornets after a contract dispute with Indiana. George said it would have been nice to have Stephenson back with Indiana, but it wasn’t up to him whether or not Stephenson would stay.
“Obviously, I wanted him to come back, we gained so much chemistry together,” George said. “But I didn’t want to make the decision for him.”
George averaged 21.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest last season, both team-bests. But with Stephenson out of town, more might be expected of George in the front court.
“The eyes are on me this year,” George said. “I’ve got a lot of pressure and I’m coming into this year ready to live up to that pressure.”
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