Paul George Ready to Be the Pacers’ ‘No. 1 Guy’

Danny Granger will re-join the Indiana Pacers on the court next season, but his spot as the teams’ leader has been taken over by Paul George. The young stud says he’s training to cement his place atop the Pacers’ food chain. Per the Indy Star: “Paul George didn’t envision himself as a leader when he attended USA Basketball’s camp last year to scrimmage against the U.S. Olympic team. But when he returned to the national team minicamp in Las Vegas last month, the feeling was different. He arrived with an All-Star selection, as winner of the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award and recognition as one of the league’s elite all-around players. He’s now the player expected to lead the Indiana Pacers to their first NBA title. George said Thursday during a visit to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health that he’s reveling in it — and that showed in his play against some of the league’s best players this summer. […] George looks forward to Granger’s return, but he understands this is his team after leading the Pacers within one game of the NBA Finals. ‘A lot comes with that,’ George said. ‘This whole summer, I really trained being the go-to guy and the lead guy for our team. Last year, we still had Danny and did not know the results (of Granger’s injury) coming into the year. I had a role that I had kind of prepared for and trained for. This year, it was more about training to be the No. 1 guy and lead this team.’ USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo declined to comment in detail about George’s performance this summer but left little doubt George will get strong consideration for the U.S. team at next year’s World Cup in Spain. ‘He made a big impression on us last year and then he enhanced his position big-time during the NBA season,’ Colangelo said. ‘The versatility he shows in his game makes him a very interesting player. He can guard at any position. He has great upside to his game. Great character. I like him a lot.'”