The Indiana Pacers have made some great runs at an NBA title in the recent past, but now face a great deal of uncertainty since star Paul George has gone down with a leg injury and could possibly miss all of next year as he recovers.
The Eastern Conference is wide open, but the Bulls and the Cavaliers had a great summer acquiring talent, and look to bring the East back up to strength to compete with the Western Conference. If the Pacers want to keep contending in the new-and-improved East, then they need to find some way to fill the void.
The fact of the matter is that whether George was injured or not, Indiana was already less prepared for the 2014-15 season than this past season. They lost a large part of their success potential when Lance Stephenson took his "Born Ready" game to Charlotte.
Stephenson was Indiana's best playmaker on both ends of the floor besides George, and he gave the Pacers a little bit of everything. He is an all around baller, bringing defense, hustle, scoring, rebounding and passing to the court every night. Stephenson led the league in triple-doubles this season.
With George now out for the season, the Pacers are without their best scorer as well as their best defender. Roy Hibbert is about the only scoring threat they have left, and that isn't saying much. They should still be alright defensively, but they need some scoring options if they want to stay competitive.
Eric Bledsoe of the Phoenix Suns is still available, and apparently talks between Phoenix and Bledsoe have stalled lately. Now might be a good time for Indiana to make an offer. Bledsoe, who is a great athletic, playmaking guard, averaged 17.7 points per game last year, with 5.5 assist. He would definitely add a scoring threat, but the Pacers are guard heavy already.
The Pacers might also consider Jeff Green from the Boston Celtics to fill the small forward position that George played. Green averaged 16.9 points per outing last year, and 1.7 assist. He would not be an improvement over George, but he might offer the team a better opportunity to find some success.