Dec 17, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum (21) drives against Portland Trail Blazers center Joel Freeland (19) in the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

What Does This Season Mean to Him?

The preseason isn’t meaningless.

But it isn’t particularly meaningful.

Once in a while, something important occurs before the season starts or a team like the 2007-08 Celtics, fresh off Summer trades for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, bonds by playing some games in Rome and kick-starting a journey that becomes a franchise-altering season. But usually, it’s just about getting some reps in. The Pacers had a unique exhibition schedule last year, for instance, but the team trip to China seemingly didn’t translate to any tangible on-court impact.

For this year’s Pacers, the 2010 preseason will indeed help us evaluate a few things. Is Tyler Hansbrough healthy enough to play professional basketball? Is Josh McRoberts a good player? How much improvement did Roy Hibbert actually make this year and is his thinner frame going to be beneficial? Seeing Darren Collison and the rookies in Pacers blue and gold is also of course interesting.

But other than that, everything else that goes down in the next two weeks will be merely serving the purpose of building teamwide “muscle memory” for executing the plays, strategies, styles and individual interactions that we will see once the games actually start to matter. That’s how players, coaches, GMs and owners are measured — by how they play individually and how their team performs during the regular season and, even more so, during the playoffs.

So while we will do our best to report on any meaningful aspects of the preseason that do surface, we will be spending more of our time looking at big picture stuff.

Specifically, we will delve into the topic of “what this season means to [insert name].”

For many people in the Pacers organization, this seasons seems like it will be particularly revelatory of the future. For Larry Bird, we are now entering the year of his three-year plan we have heard so much about (and seen come to fruition somewhat). For Coach Jim O’Brien, the win/loss record this season will likely determine whether or not he continues coaching in Indiana. Owner Herb Simon will be closely watching the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations that most people expect to continually degrade in the lead up to the expiration of the current deal next Summer. Danny Granger will likely either noticeably improve this season or settle in as the player that we can expect to see for the rest of his career. The same goes for Roy Hibbert to a lesser degree. Darren Collison will likely show us whether or not he is a high-caliber starting point guard in this league. Brandon Rush should be unveiled as either a mediocre, inconsistent, end-of-the-rotation player or a defensive presence that any team would like to have on the court. The young guys will show us something or not. Lance Stephenson could go to jail.

Basically, in May, we will know a lot more about this team than we do today.

So look for a “What This Season Means to Larry Bird” post later today and a bunch more for other people in the days and weeks to come.

crystal ball

Let’s look into the future.

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