It’s an early preview, but this year’s team has some lofty expectations. This is probably the first year in a while, where the Pacers have a legit shot at taking the division, and making another playoff run. It would bring back the memories of the old teams of the 90s, where it felt like every year they were right there.
With the Bulls having Derrick Rose out, and the other Central teams not looking as good as the Pacers or Bulls, how could the Pacers NOT be favored to win this? They are bringing back their starting line up from last year that came together in April with the inclusion of George Hill after Darren Collison got injured. Collison gets traded this summer, and Hill signs an extension to stay here, so he knows he’s the point guard and leader of this team.
The bench players might not have improved that much, but there’s potential there. Gerald Green seemed to reemerge with the Nets last season, and has some upside to him as long as his head is straight. DJ Augustin should provide favorable back up point guard skills. Ian Mahinmi is a big man that’s athletic and could give out some good minutes. Those are the three additions to the bench. But I still think the starters might be called upon to play some more minutes, especially in crunch time.
That might be the biggest issue for this team, who do you call on for the big shot at the end. In a way, it’s so open that could be problems for other teams. George Hill hit some big threes down the stretch of last season. Danny Granger is always a great option for a big shot. If the game is close, the Pacers can go down low to their big men in Roy Hibbert and David West. So how would a team prepare for something like that? Sure the Pacers don’t have that superstar, but this is a concentrated team effort, and that’s the way they want to win.
The Pacers should be able to live up to these expectations thanks to the way the team is built. If you’ve heard Coach Frank Vogel talk, you’ve heard nothing but optimism and confidence, which is just what the Pacers needed. He’s got high expectations for this team, and should voice that a few times throughout the year. This is the time for the Pacers to continue this upward trend of making their name known. Now’s the time to take things to the next level.
What are your expectations for this season?