Fresno State forward Paul George was drafted to the Indiana Pacers in Thursday night's NBA draft. He was picked tenth in round one.
The 6'8" forward averaged 16 points a game at Fresno State. He said he is excited to come to a team that is rebuilding, but admits he has some work to do this summer.
"Just make sure that my mind is right, and if my mind is right then I'll be prepared to step in to whatever situation that I'm in," he said.
The Pacers have a long post-season history, but that history has been vacant for a couple of years. George said that he thinks his addition will help the team make it back to playoff basketball.
"I think I can come in and help right away and contribute, and make everything that much more competitive."
Pacers Coach Jim O'Brien said he is excited to have George on the team.
"Everybody said he can play, and it was very apparent when I watched tape and we had him in here. He's a guy that is the type of athlete with size and scoring ability inside and outside that I think is very key in this league."
Attendees of the Pacers' draft party at Conseco Fieldhouse didn't really know how to react, many having never heard of the player. But George isn't a complete stranger to the Indiana Pacers, having trained with forward Danny Granger in the off season.
"I think I shoot the ball well, for my size," George said. "Starting off it was a little tough going from college to the NBA line, but I feel comfortable now."
Pacers president Larry Bird says the comparisons between first-round draft pick Paul George and new teammate Danny Granger make sense.
Granger, somewhat of an unknown coming out of New Mexico in 2005, has emerged into an All-Star. George also is a versatile, athletic, hardworking forward from a mid-major program.
Another similarity is that they will have established mentors.
Bird hopes Granger guides George the way Ron Artest helped Granger when he entered the league.
Granger and George worked out together before the draft, and George considered him a mentor even before he was picked.
In the second round, the Pacers drafted Cincinnati guard Lance Stephenson and later swapped Florida State forward Ryan Reid for Louisiana Tech's Magnum Rolle. The 6-foot-11 center averaged 13.9 points and 8.4 rebounds and led the Western Athletic Conference with 2.1 blocks per game. The 24-year-old transferred from LSU before red-shirting, then having two strong seasons for the Bulldogs.
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