The Indiana Pacers will no longer have Paul George when they play in the 2017-18 NBA season. George was their franchise star in the past few years, but in July they traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite his absence, many people still believe that the Pacers are going to be competitive. One of the reasons for this is their promising second unit, which will feature the likes of Lance Stephenson and Al Jefferson.

In Stephenson and Jefferson's careers, they have experienced being starters for a team. However, it is now time for them to give way to younger players who are entering their prime.

Stephenson, who plays at the shooting guard position, is likely the man behind Victor Oladipo on the depth chart. Meanwhile, Jefferson is the second-stringer at center. The projected starter at no. 5 for Indiana is Myles Turner, who could be the new face of the franchise.

The demotion of Stephenson and Jefferson, from starters to bench players, might turn out to be beneficial for them and the Pacers. It could make the team tougher to beat since it has a good group of starting players and a second unit that will be led by quality veterans.

Sixth Man Stephenson

Aside from being one of the leaders off the bench for Indiana, Stephenson must embrace a bigger role in the new season. In a report on, head coach Nate McMillan said he is planning to use the 27-year-old as their sixth man.

"I hope he can establish (that role). A sixth man is like a starter, and he can be a guy who can do a lot of things with that second group with his ability to handle the ball, score the ball. He's an unselfish player," McMillan explained.

In the same report, Stephenson expressed acceptance of the role that McMillan will give him in the Pacers' upcoming campaign.

According to him, he is just "happy" to be back and is looking forward to a "good season" where he aims to regain his old form. He is willing to do anything just to help the Pacers win.

Stephenson is already in his second stint with the Pacers. In his first run with the squad, he was one of its best players. Together with George, Roy Hibbert, David West, and George Hill, they helped the organization become the rival of the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference during the Big Three (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh) era.

Aaron Brooks leaving Indiana

Sadly, another veteran who may have joined Stephenson and Jefferson as the leaders of the second unit is parting ways with the Pacers. The Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda reported that point guard Aaron Brooks is signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Brooks spent his first and probably last year with the Pacers in the 2016-17 season. The 32-year-old was a key player off the bench for Indiana.