Last season brought many surprises to the Indiana Pacers franchise. Although the team was buried with injuries throughout the year, they finished as the ninth best team in the Eastern Conference, barely missing the playoffs that year. One of their most important players was out for most of the season as the Pacers had to manage to stay alive during the 2008-09 season without Mike Dunleavy.
But other than that, many surprises came as backup point guard Jarrett Jack showed signs of him being a starting-caliber PG. T.J. Ford was strong throughout the year just as Troy Murphy was as he hit more three’s and set a new Pacers’ record for most rebounds in a season. But the best was Danny Granger, who brought the Pacers fanbase together with his high-flying dunks and his shots made through the net.
Jumpers were a priority throughout the season. The rookie class was exciting with Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert earning themselves starting jobs for the new season. The Pacers are looking to make their first playoff-berth since 2005 coming into the new season, so here is a preview for the upcoming season.
Re-Signed Josh McRoberts
This really wasn’t a big move but McRoberts showed some pretty good skills during the end of the season last year and I think he’ll play a nice role on the bench.
Signed Tyler Hansbrough and A.J. Price
These draft picks hope to be the future of the Indiana Pacers franchise and they both look to be All-Star in the next two-to-four seasons. Hansbrough has been battling injuries, but if he can overcome them, he’ll be fun to watch midway through the new season.
Signed Solomon Jones
Solomon Jones adds depth to the big men spot after the Pacers released Rasho Nesterovic. Jones is average at best, but if he can pull something off this year, I think the Pacers made a smart move.
Signed Earl Watson
After Jarrett Jack was let go, Earl Watson was picked up from Oklahoma City. He’s a great backup PG and he looks to play well next season as a one-two punch may form with he and Ford.
Signed Dahntay Jones
With Marquis Daniels off to the Celtics, Indy signed Dahntay Jones at the shooting guard spot. He’s a great defensive stopper, so expect him to strive when Brandon Rush needs a break during a game.
The Pacers let go of Jamaal Tinsley finally, but will have to pay him the final two years of his contract. Tinsley has been causing trouble and right now, he has no job. It’s time to start flipping burgers Jamaal.
Signed Luther Head
Luther Head looks to help a strong core of point guards the Pacers own. He’s a good three-point shooter and hopes to become a asset to the Pacers’ squad.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Outside shooting has been great for the Pacers lately. The Pacers have been solid in three-pointers, just like what they did during their win over the Bucks in the last game of the season as Brandon Rush and Danny Granger could just not miss from behind-the-arc. With players 6’7″ or taller shooting outside jumpers, and being good at it, it’s going to be dangerous.
The biggest weakness with Indy has to be Bench Scoring, no doubt. I am going to have to agree with John Hollinger on this one. The Pacers are really going to have to count on their second unit of Watson, Jones, Dunleavy, Hansbrough, and Foster. It’s not as good as the second unit of last season, but hopefully, this bunch can be able to pull something through when Ford, Rush, Granger, Murphy, and Hibbert come off the court.
With the Pacers almost making the playoffs last season without Dunleavy, just imagine what they can do with him healthy this season. Hibbert will be starting for his first time, and if he can take advantage of his size and not make fouls, the Pacers are ready to go for this season. Expect more positives from B-Rush, because this kid is really bright.
The Pacers are looking to strive this season, so expect them to finish in the eighth or seventh seed. Just ask Celtics fan Graham Brunell, he agrees. So without hesitation, here’s what I expect from the Blue and Gold next season:
Eighth in Eastern Conference
Tags: A.J. Price Atlanta Hawks Boston Celtics Brandon Rush College Basketball Dahntay Jones Danny Granger Denver Nuggets Earl Watson Golden State Warriors Houston Rockets Jamaal Tinsley Jarett Jack Jeff Foster Josh McRoberts Luther Head Marquis Daniels Mike Dunleavy Milwaukee Bucks NBA NBA Draft NBA Finals NBA Playoffs NCAA Oklahoma City Thunder Pacers Season Preview Portland Trailblazers Rasho Nesterovic Roy Hibbert Seattle Supersonics Solomon Jones T.J. Ford Toronto Raptors Troy Murphy Tyler Hansbrough