The end goal of the upcoming "Paul George at power forward" experiment for the Indiana Pacers is to embrace the NBA's shift toward small ball and pick up last season's dreadfully slow pace. And with that in mind, recently re-signed Pacers forward Shayne Whittington knows what he has to do to earn playing time.
Whittington told Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports how relieved he was to have his new deal in hand, then he launched into a lengthy discussion of how the Pacers plan to attack 2015-16:
"We're going to be running a lot," Whittington said, before acknowledging that fatigue could play a factor. "We're going to be putting bodies through. We'll be alright. Regardless of what happens -- (knocks on the wooden table) -- there's always injuries in the league. And with the way that we'll probably be running and playing, people are going to get tired real quick. Training camp will tell us a lot. A lot."
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By nature of the sheer numbers, there should be time for Whittington on the court, given that logic. But if he's to earn extended playing time, Whittington says that his game must boil down to two key factors, on top of being big and gobbling up rebounds.
"Let me tell you: If I can guard and hit open shots, I'm going to be out there."
The former shouldn't be too difficult, especially with a coach and teacher the quality of Frank Vogel. The former, however, will require some honest development from Whittington. His jumper was practically non-existent last season. That's not to say that he's incapable of knocking down shots from range; last season's numbers are way too small of a sample to draw any definitive conclusions about Whittington's game. But the point stands that he hasn't yet shown an ability to hit those shots consistently.
If he does, though, then he's absolutely right -- he will see time for the Pacers.
(h/t Vigilant Sports)