Paul George laughs off ESPN’s far too early East prediction

Paul George is eager to get the 2015-16 season started...

Paul George is eager to get the 2015-16 season started…

It’s far too early for NBA season predictions, right?

Wrong, says ESPN.

In an effort to keep the conversation ongoing, ESPN has come out with its eighth annual season predications that they’ll announce over the next few weeks. The predictions, ESPN says, comes from a panel of more than 200 people, “who collectively possess vast NBA experience, knowledge and perspective.”

This panel projects that Cleveland, Chicago, and Atlanta will be the top three teams in the Eastern Conference next season, and if you keep scrolling you’ll see they have the Pacers … in ninth, one spot out of the playoffs, again.

NINTH.

That prediction, which comes six weeks before teams gather for training camp, elicited a chuckle from Paul George.

[Pacers 2015-16 regular season schedule unveiled]

George, a two-time All-Star, missed 76 of 82 games last season due to the leg injury suffered on Aug. 1 at a USA Basketball scrimmage … and the Pacers managed to finish 38-44. ESPN projects the Pacers will go 39-43, meaning they’ll win just one more game with a healthy Paul George, along with a half-dozen new pieces joining the mix.

[If you remember last year, the WWL dubbed Pacers undrafted free agent Shayne Whittington as Mr. 500, the lowest-ranked player in the NBA — and he proved them wrong.]

Mostly, the projections are to do … well, what they just did: Spark discussion. As someone who isn’t a fan of projections, let’s at least wait until the preseason is over and opening night rosters are set.

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