Teams shipping away superstars rarely come out looking great in the short term. Even if a piece they get back develops into someone special, like in the case of the Grizzlies and Lakers’ Gasol swap nine years ago, it’ll still take some time to recalibrate from the original reaction.
That said, the Pacers are getting more out of returning piece Victor Oladipo than anyone could’ve imagined early on. The 25-year-old guard is a top-10 scorer at 26 points per game and getting to the free throw line at a markedly improved rate. If he can remain an efficient first or second option for Indiana, and if Domantas Sabonis can turn into a quality rotation piece, the once-derided trade should age very well.
And the Pacers have other reasons to be optimistic about their future. 21-year-old big man Myles Turner looked like the real deal last season, averaging 14.5 points, 7.3 boards, and 2.1 blocks, but he’s missed all but one game this year due to a concussion suffered in their season opener. He still hasn’t been cleared to return to the court, so I’d expect him to be in street clothes and Sabonis to start in his place once again.
Turner’s absence will hurt a Pacers squad that doesn’t have another rim protector. A backline of Sabonis and Thaddeus Young should make the paint pretty inviting for the Spurs all night long.
San Antonio Spurs (4-1) at Indiana Pacers (2-3)
October 29, 2017 | 3:30 pm CDT
Watch: FSSW, Listen: WOAI
Spurs injuries: Kawhi Leonard (quadriceps), Joffrey Lauvergne (ankle), Tony Parker (quadriceps)
Pacers injuries: Glenn Robinson III (ankle), Myles Turner (neck, concussion), Edmond Sumner (knee)
Checking in with CoJo
Former Spur Cory Joseph, who spent the last few years in Toronto, is now backing up Darren Collison in Indiana after an offseason trade for C.J. Miles. Fun fact: Joseph’s scoring average against San Antonio (10.8 points) is higher than against any other team in the league. Here’s hoping a former Spur doesn’t smoke the team for a second game in a row.
Bouncing back from the Magic loss
I’m happy to write off most of what happened in Orlando as One Of Those Days, but there were still some things the team will need to work on. The Magic’s active switch-y defense proved to be a great counter to the Spurs’ size advantage inside, and the Good Guys were unable to use ball movement to answer. And, as Jesus Gomez noted in his recap, I too am just the slightest bit worried about how Patty Mills has looked early on. He’s averaging just 5.2 points on 33.3% shooting and has lacked in his usual effervescent energy on the defensive end.
Vegas prediction: Spurs by 6.5.
Game prediction: Spurs by 8.
For the Pacers fan’s perspective, visit Indy Cornrows
As always Tony must dominate Fisher.
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