The Magic had the worst record in the NBA last season, and their team isn’t that much better this year, although the addition of rookie Victor Oladipo should make them a bit stronger. The Pacers, on the other hand, look like an improved version of the team that battled the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals last season so it’s no surprise that Orlando is considered the underdogs for this game.
They will have a tough time trying to stop the balanced attack of their opposition, but if they want to have a slight chance to pull the upset they need to find a way to stop Paul George.
With Danny Granger still sidelined, George is the focal point of the Pacers offense. He’s able to score from beyond the arc or slashing to the rim with ease so he has a skill set that’s tough to stop. He’s also one of the better defenders in the league so he can be a force at both ends of the court when he’s on his game.
Oladipo should be the man in charge of defending George at the three spot. It will be a difficult assignment for a player who will make his NBA debut tonight, but if he’s able to slow down George then the Magic are definitely going to have an easier time on their first game of the season.
Expect George to attack Oladipo constantly as he tries to use his experience to take an advantage in the matchup. However, the Indiana product was considered one of the best perimeter defenders at the college level, and his calling card at the NBA level will be his defense so it will certainly be a matchup worth keeping an eye on.
The Pacers have several other options to attack the Magic as they have a better team all around. But the engine that keeps the machine going is Paul George, so the Magic need to stop him if they want to pull an upset on Opening Night.