THE `BURBS -
Marc Spears from Yahoo! Sports was one of the first people to contact me after the Pacers drafted Paul George.
Spears, a close friend of mine, raved about George's game. Spears kept one eye on George last season because he lives in California and he went to school at San Jose State, which also plays in the Western Athletic Conference.
"I'm telling you, people are going to like Paul's game," Spears said.
The media got their first up-close look at George and the rest of the Pacers rookies during the rookie/free agent camp at Conseco Fieldhouse, which wrapped up Sunday.
I know it was against journeymen and undrafted rookies, but you can see why the Pacers liked George at No. 10.
The young fella has a smooth game. He's aggressive on offense. He nailed 3-pointers from the same spot on the court on three straight possessions during a scrimmage early Sunday morning. We'll talk about who dished the ball to him on those plays in a little bit.
George's long arms help him on the defensive end. He'll definitely need to get in the weight room or head down the street to Moe's and eat a few steaks because he has to put some weight on.
And oh yeah, George has a chance to show up on ESPN's top 10 plays every time he attempts a dunk.
"He's got versatility," assistant coach Frank Vogel said. "We're trying to post him, we're trying to encourage him to get himself as many 3-point line catches as he can so he can be a brutal closeout guy, much like Danny (Granger) has become."
Brandon Rush better not come into training camp (if he's not traded) with the mind frame that the starting shooting guard spot will be his all season.
Practices should be intense next season.
Rush vs. George
Granger vs. Dahntay Jones
Mike Dunleavy driving all four of those players crazy with his ability to move without the ball.
Of course there's no guarantee all five of those players will be on the roster next season.
Lance Stephenson is doing his best to prove that he can run the point.
Stephenson isn't the quickest player on the court but he has a knack for breaking the defense down. And he knows how to finish around the rim, an area of concern for the Pacers in the past.
Remember the three straight 3's George made in the scrimmage?
Stephenson was the one handing out the assists on those plays.
He got by his defender, drove into the paint to draw the defense and then
kicked the ball out to an open George on the perimeter.
"Almost daily we're impressed with his playmaking ability, not just looking to score, but finding the right man and making the right reads," Vogel said about Stephenson.
I wrote about Magnum Rolle in Sunday's Star.