Quick Links

NBA 2017-18 Eastern Conference Outlook: Myles Turner, Pacers prepare for life without Paul George

NBA 2017-18 Eastern Conference Outlook: Myles Turner, Pacers prepare for life without Paul George

CSN is looking around the league as we prepare for the 2017-18 NBA season. Today, we break down the Indiana Pacers' outlook...

2016-17 record: 42-40, 7th in East
Coach: Nate McMillan
Key additions: SG Victor Oladipo, PG Darren Collison, SF Bojan Bogdanovic, PF T.J. Leaf, PF Domantas Sabonis
Key losses: SF Paul George, PG Jeff Teague
Projected lineup: PG Darren Collison, SG Victor Oladipo, SF Bojan Bogdanovic, PF Thaddeus Young, C Myles Turner

Biggest questions:

1. How will life without PG-13 be?

The Pacers made a major, franchise-changing trade this summer by sending George, a superstar, to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In comes Oladipo and Sabonis and that's it. They didn't get any draft picks. Instead, they brought in two players who can help them compete now. 

Oladipo is a promising young guard who can score, albeit not very efficiently. Sabonis was a 2016 first round pick and projects to be a capable stretch-4. The Pacers will build around them and Turner, a budding star. It won't be easy moving on without George and it will be interesting to see if their young players mesh early or if this turns into a lengthy rebuild. 


2. Is Turner ready for more responsiblity?

Turner, just 21, has proven to be one of the more intriguing young players in the NBA through two seasons. He averaged 14.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks while shooting 51.1 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from three in 2016-17. Another step from there could put him in the All-Star game.

Without George in Indiana, more pressure will be put on Turner to lead the way. Oladipo can be included in that mix, but Turner is clearly the future and with that more focus will be put not only on his play but actions as a leader.

3. Are they playoff or lottery bound?

The pieces are there for Indiana to still compete, especially in a weakened Eastern Conference. The idea of them snagging a lower playoff seed in an East that could see a sub-.500 team make the postseason does not seem far-fetched. But just because they have some talent, doesn't mean they will put it altogether immediately. And one could argue they would be best off losing a little bit early to acquire more pieces to build around. As constituted, they don't have a whole lot unless Oladipo or Turner makes a significant leap. The Pacers could be one of the toughest teams to predict for 2017-18. They could be pretty good or not very good at all and it wouldn't be surprising.

More 2017-18 previews:

Toronto Raptors

Milwaukee Bucks

Chicago Bulls



Quick Links

5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Pistons, including John Wall's amazing blocks

USA Today Sports Images

5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Pistons, including John Wall's amazing blocks

Here are the best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 115-111 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

1. Much of the attention going into any Wizards-Pistons game these days will be on John Wall and Reggie Jackson, as the two have had a mini-rivalry over the years. It was a long night for Jackson, as you'll see throughout this post, and it started with this putback jumper by Wall that left Jackson in the dust:

2. Wall finished with 26 points, 10 assists and two blocks. Both of his blocks were amazing. The first was this one, on Tobias Harris who is a power forward:


3. Wall's 28 points were much quieter than in the season-opener when he was dunking all over everyone. In this game, though, he did have this sick layup on the fastbreak:

4. Bradley Beal was also an offensive standout with 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting. One of his best plays was this and-1 late in the game:

Here's a bonus clip. Beal (25 points) had a few nice crossovers that ended in missed shots. This was one of them:

5. Okay, here's the second Wall block. It was on Jackson and it came at the perfect time. This helped seal the win:


Quick Links

John Wall proclaims himself as the best shot-blocking point guard in NBA history

John Wall proclaims himself as the best shot-blocking point guard in NBA history

If you have thought to yourself over the years that John Wall is very good at blocking shots for a point guard, then don't worry, he's fully aware. Wall, in fact, believes there has never been one better in the history of the game.

Seriously. Wall staked his claim after Friday night's win over the Pistons, one in which he had two jawdropping blocks; one against a power forward and the other with just 14 seconds left to help seal the victory.

"That's just me playing defense. I think I'm the best shot-blocking point guard in NBA history. I'm trying to set records," he said.

First, let's look at the aforementioned blocks before we break down Wall's proclomation. The power forward who felt his wrath was Tobias Harris. Wall is 6-foot-4 and Harris is 6-foot-8:

The second block was as timely as it gets. If Wall doesn't swat this one away, who knows how the game turns out:

Wall understandably got some serious praise for those plays.

"Those are blocks that point guards are not supposed to make, but he has a special ability to make those plays throughout the game," head coach Scott Brooks said.

"It's the will to win, man," Bradley Beal said. "It's a timing thing. A lot of his transition ones, I will cut the guy off just so he can go block it. It's all about timing. He has great timing and great athleticism."

Now, for Wall's claim itself. There certainly aren't many guards who come to mind for shot-blocking. Dwyane Wade is known as being one of the best, but he's a shooting guard.

Wade, in fact, has the most career blocks ever for a guard with 802. Wall, though, has the second-most among active players at the guard position with 326. He's already 10th in NBA history for guards. Here is the top 10:

1. Dwyane Wade - 802*
2. Clyde Drexler - 719
3. Dennis Johnson - 675
4. Jason Kidd - 450
5. Kendall Gill - 432
6. Latrell Sprewell - 399
7. Jason Richardson - 367
8. Baron Davis - 360
9. Doc Rivers - 351
10. John Wall - 326*

(via Basketball Reference)

That's an excellent list of NBA names to be a part of. Only Johnson, Kidd, Davis and Wall are point guards, meaning Wall is already fourth all-time in career blocks at his position and the active leader. To set the all-time record, he will need 350 more to pass Johnson. That won't be easy, but it's feasible based on his career numbers.

Wall averaged 46 blocks per year in his first seven seasons. He would have to keep going at that rate for more than 7 1/2 seasons to pass Johnson. Given Wall is 27, he would have to still be blocking shots in his mid-30s.

It is certainly possible. Wall has averaged 0.6 blocks per game in his career and Wade is still at that pace now at Age 35. Wade, however, was averaging over a block per game in his prime, when he was Wall's age.

Wall may need to pick up his pace a bit to back up the claim he made on Friday night, but there's no denying that he's on track to at least make it interesting.