The Western Conference just got even better. Per Ramona Shelburne, of ESPN, the Indiana Pacers, and Oklahoma City Thunder agreed on a trade to send Paul George to the Thunder.
The Thunder have had a good week of events.
On Monday night, Russell Westbrook was named the Most Valuable Player, and on Friday he has another All-Star to help him carry the load. In the deal, the Thunder are essentially giving up nothing as well.
Last season, Oladipo averaged just 15.9 points per game in his first season in Oklahoma City. Sabonis, on the other hand, was very inefficient.
Last season, Sabonis played in 81 games for the Thunder – starting in 66 of them – and only averaged 5.9 points per game in nearly 20 minutes per contest.
This is a steal for Oklahoma City, as George was one of the best players on both sides of the ball last season.
In 2016-2017, George averaged 23.7 points per game, to go along with 6.6 rebounds per contest. Offensively, his numbers do not go unnoticed, but he was no slouch on defense either.
George finished last season in a tie for 14th in steals per game – at 1.6 per contest. He defended well on the perimeter as well.
Last season, players shot just 35.1 percent when George defended them beyond the arc. Defending the three was an area where the Thunder struggled at as well.
In 2016-2017, opponents shot 35.6 percent from long distance against the Thunder (14th in the NBA, Indiana was 13th). Now with the addition of George, and what he brings defensively, the Thunder could improve on that side of the ball.
From the Pacers perspective, the plan is clear. Indiana is looking to rebuild around center Myles Turner.
The Pacers do receive a pair of young assets for its former All-Star, which does add promise for the future. The fact of Oladipo returning to the state where he played college basketball at, adds intrigue to this swap as well.