Five questions for Pacers as NBA season begins

The Indiana Pacers begin their 2014-15 season tonight with a home scrimmage game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Pacers face five important questions entering this season?

How do you replace All-Star forward Paul George?

George was injured during a scrimmage game with the USA Basketball team in preparation for the World Championships. He suffered a compound fracture of leg while landing on a routine defensive play. The injury will keep him out all season.

This will be the main storyline to the season.

Who will step in for the departed Lance Stephenson?

Like him or not, Stephenson was a big reason why the Pacers made deep playoff runs the past two seasons and his presence will be missed.  Stephenson signed with Charlotte over the summer.

Can Roy Hibbert maintain consistency all season?

When Hibbert’s game was on, he was one of the best big men in the NBA. He made his second appearance in the All-Star after a first half of the season where he dominated, After the All-Star game Hibbett disappeared, scoring 0 points and grabbing only two rebounds in a playoff loss to Washington and coming back two nights later with 28 points and nine rebounds. If he stays consistent, he gives the Pacers a nightly scoring threat.

Will George Hill emerge as a leader?

Everyone loves the hometown kid does good story and everyone is rooting for Hill, a product of Broad Ripple High School and IUPUI. Consistency has been his problem and he tends to disappear in big moments. The Pacers need Hill to be consistent to have a shot at returning to the playoffs.

Can David West step up and be an All-Star caliber player?

West averages 15.9 points and 7.2 rebounds over his career. He has hit some big shots for the Pacers and will need to fill the void felt by losing the 35 plus points per night that left with George and Stephenson.

It looks to be an interesting season. Coach Frank Vogel insists the goal is the NBA Finals, but losing your top two scorers from the previous season will be a difficult challenge to overcome.