Paul George 'not thrilled' about starting at power forward
Vogel spoke to Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star on Thursday and revealed his starting lineup for next season, which tentatively features George at the four.
George has played his entire NBA career on the wing, split evenly between shooting guard and small forward, but the directive to migrate isn't new. George has spent much of the offseason preparing for the transition.
Granted, the move hasn't exactly come without a hitch. A decidedly unenthused George said that he was fine with playing "some" time at power forward, but scoffed at the notion of logging close to 30 minutes per night in the frontcourt earlier this summer.
To that, Pacers president Larry Bird responded, "(George) don't make decisions around here."
George was, again, decidedly nonplussed about the move, as he relayed to ESPN's Mike Mazzeo on Thursday.
"I’m not too thrilled about it, but I told them I’m open to the situation. I’m open to the change, so we’ll see how it goes. We’ll see how it goes during training camp," he said.
"Because that's what I am (a small forward), I pride myself on being a ballplayer first and foremost ... It's gonna be an adjustment. And I'm just used to being at the three, and that's what made me special is just being able to guard perimeter guys."
The concern of injury is also a factor, George told Sam Amick of USA Today.
"Yeah, I believe (that’s his main concern)," George said. "It’s just being outmatched strength-wise with guys at the four spot is really the only concern. It’s not really the concern for one game. It’s the concern just over the course of a season just how my body would take it, especially coming off the injury that I had and a whole year of rehabbing. Just not sure of how it’s going to take it."
Still, in lieu of viable options, George seems destined to start at power forward.
The transition won't be easy, but the 6-foot-9 forward certainly has the defensive ability to check players in the post, especially since the league is migrating towards a style where "smallball" is the norm. At the very least, George is a more palatable option than "traditional" bigs like Lavoy Allen or rookie Myles Turner.
The cheerier news for Pacers fans concerns George's replenished health. The broken leg that robbed George of all but six games last season is now behind him, says Vogel.
That's the biggest goal for the Pacers this season. Getting the two-time All-Star to return to form is of utmost importance, especially since a noticeably hobbled George managed just 15.2 minutes per game last season.