In my spare time, I run the NBA blog Both Teams Played Hard. Of late, a chap named Noam Schiller has been contributing some superb posts and his latest is an attempt to make some “crazy” yet very possible predictions about the upcoming season.
And he seems to be one of the few people out there who see happy skies ahead for Indiana, even expecting the team to make the playoffs when the first 82 games are all said and done.
Here is Noam’s case for the Pacers:
The Pacers Will Make the Playoffs
I know. The Pacers? The team that has done nothing but stagnate in the least interesting way possible since 2007? The team who will be starting Josh McRoberts and one of the Brandon Rush/James Posey/Mike Dunleavey trifecta? Seriously, the Pacers?!
Danny Granger is a beast, and while he isn’t a franchise player by any means, he also isn’t nearly as bad as he was last season. Darren Collison showed while filling in for Chris Paul that he is more than just a per-minute wonder, and he can flourish in Jim O’Brien’s up-tempo system. And Roy Hibbert – oh, Roy Hibbert. Three years in, he should have the stupid high foul thing behind him, leaving only a deft touch and a strong high post game to go with a 7’2” frame. I see a great season from Roy, and he is my preseason pick for Most Improved Player. (Yeah, I know all the red flags – poor rebounder, too slow for the modern Al Horford-esque center, yada yada yada. These are my crazy predictions and you’ll have to tolerate my leaps of faith). And if they can swing a deal for another player who is actually worthy of starting (they have the expiring deals), then why not?
Most of all – the East gets quite murky once you get past the top 6 (Miami, Orlando, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Milwaukee). The Knicks are probably the best of the remaining bunch, but they’re far from a lock. Besides that? Anybody but the Raptors could make some noise of varying degree – with noise being a Playoff push of under 40 wins.
Somebody will eventually be the least worst team.
This league has surprise, come out of nowhere, “they didn’t change their roster, why are they so good?” teams every season. I think this year, it’s Indy.
He is correct in that there is usually one “they didn’t change their roster, why are they so good?” teams. The Pacers obviously got Darren Collison but in the grand scheme of FR3E AGEñT $UMM4R BON@NZA TWeNTY 1o, that was barely even a drop in the ocean.
So let’s hope Noam is as wise as his first name suggests he might be.
What say you? Will Indian end its playoff drought this season?