NBA studs and duds

Story by: Connor Curts, staff writer

With the National Basketball Association’s season reaching its halfway point, it has become clear who is having a great year, and who is having a not-so-great year.

Paul George of the hometown Indiana Pacers is undoubtedly having the best season of his career, in his first full year healthy after the devastating and gruesome leg injury that kept him out for all but six games last year. He’s averaging 24.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game. All of those are career-highs. On top of that he was selected to his third All-Star Game, which takes place in February.

“PG has been incredible this year. He had a rough month in December, but overall he’s done pretty well,” said Kevin Lyons, 11.

Stephen Curry, the reigning Most Valuable Player and leading MVP candidate once again this year, has been tearing up the league all season long. Though he has cooled down from his hot start to the year, he is still averaging 29.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 6.5 assists. Curry opted to play through an injury that would have taken a full month to recover from, and so far, the decision has paid off.

But, not everyone is having such a great year. While some are posting career-best numbers, others are not.

Roy Hibbert, a former Pacers player who saw his stats, and his body, fall hardly to the floor last year, has managed to record even worse stats with his new team, the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s scoring just 6.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists this year. At 7’2, being one of the tallest players in the league, he’s expected to grab a lot more than 5.8 rebounds.

With half of the season remaining, players don’t have a lot of time to boost their stats, but there is plenty of time for them to hit rock bottom. Numbers don’t raise easily, but they fall as quickly as a rock from the top of a cliff.

Paul George’s return

Story by: Connor Curts, staff writer

When Paul George suffered a compound fracture to his leg on August 1, 2014, the Indiana Pacers fan base felt like it had just lost everything. Their star player was going to be out for the foreseeable future, and the team was going to struggle without him.

As expected, the team missed the playoffs, after George missed 76 of 82 games in the 2014-2015 season. And worse, George had to be carried off of the court with a calf injury in the final game. It wasn’t a good way to end the season.

Lo and behold, George wasn’t giving up on something he’s chased his whole life: winning the Most Valuable Player award, and winning the NBA Finals. He worked all summer long, strengthening his legs, working on shooting and dribbling. The question was whether or not it would pay off.

It did. He won Eastern Conference Player of the Month for the first month of the season, and through 20 games, George has averaged 27.9 points, 4.3 assists, and 8.2 rebounds per game. Each of those stats surpasses his career averages, and he’s in the race for MVP, though it will be rather hard to win it over Stephen Curry, the reigning MVP.

George is making 45% of his 3 point attempts, an incredible stat that will be key to watch for in the future.

“It’s insane how he’s been making so many 3 pointers,” said Sam Philpot, 11. “I can’t wait to watch him in person at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.”

For Pacers fans, seeing George on the floor at all is a wonderful sight. But seeing him single handedly dismantle opponents has been truly phenomenal.