I didn’t break down the Kings game today so much as just discuss the consequences of the Pacers late-season winning ways, but here are some thoughts on Indiana from me today on the Daily Dime.
For Indiana, every win is bittersweet. Danny Granger is again looking like the unstoppable scorer he was last season, and after posting 33 points Tuesday in a 102-95 win over Sacramento, he has now put up at least 29 points in six of his past seven games. Furthermore, the franchise’s young talent, Roy Hibbert and Brandon Rush, are now producing consistently. And the whole team is finally playing the hard-nosed, fun-to-watch brand of basketball that made the state famous.
On the other hand, each win is lowering the Pacers’ hopes to draft the franchise-altering, blue-chip rookie that the team so badly needs to pair with Granger if it wants to return to respectability.
There are a few more paragraphs for you to check out over there on the matter, including a staggering comparison of the Pacers’ record over the past 10 games (7-3) to that of the seven other teams it is fighting with for a good draft pick (a collective 16-54 in their past 70 games). Yikes. One of these things is not like the other. (Only the Knicks and Warriors have even 4 wins in their last 10.)
Maurice Brooks also gave Danny his “Tuesday’s Best” award, which includes another little morsel of Pacers info.
UPDATE: Tim drops some knowledge and lends precise facts about the Pacers change in the standings over the past few weeks.
At the end of play on 3/15 (or morning paper, 3/16), the Pacers stood 5th in the Central (worst), 14th in the East (2nd worst), and 27th in the NBA (4th worst).
They’ve gone 7-2 since then, and, as of this morning, they stand 4th in the Central (2nd worst), 10th in the East (6th worst), and 21st in the NBA (10th worst).
During that stretch, they’ve gained 3 games against Philly, 3 1/2 against NYK & LAC, 5 1/2 against DET & SAC, and 6 1/2 against the Wiz.
Since that date, only PHO (7-0), CLE (6-1), ORL (5-1), and POR (4-1) have better records.
But my only real reaction to all this is “Yikes.”
UPDATE II: Chad Ford did a chat for ESPN today and had a few comments on the Pacers and tanking:
Is Jim O’Brien on the hot seat?
Chad Ford (1:17 PM)
As for O’Brien, he should be after killing the Pacers shot at John Wall. I’m all for playing hard every game. But, clearly he and the rest of the Pacers aren’t on the same page.
Based off of your Pacer’s comment, are you a supporter of teams intentionally tanking late in the year?
Chad Ford (1:20 PM)
Yes. The NBA gives them an incentive to do so. If tanking now gives me the chance to win MORE games next year, of course you do it. And I think the fans understand. What do you think Pacers fans want? Another three or four meaningless wins in late March/April or John Wall or Evan Turner?