2. What can the Pacers do this second half of the season to improve?
Currently, the Pacers are in prime position to host an early round of the playoffs, which is pretty daggone good. The exciting part is that the Pacers are going to get even better in the second half of the season. Some of the talking heads around town think the Pacers need to make a move to truly become a contender, but I’m not a fan of that mindset. I’m of the belief that Danny Granger’s return is enough. By the end of February the Pacers will have a very good wing player. I don’t see any player comparable to Granger that is available. The Pacers may not make a roster move, but should still improve drastically.
As far as team success goes, the outlook for the Pacers is promising. The Pacers have the second best home record in the East, and have 6 more home games than road games over the course of the next four months. It’s a small detail, but I think it will play a big role. For example, the Bulls have played eight more home games than road games, so their half game lead over the Pacers could evaporate very quickly.
I think Vogel knows exactly what he wants out of his players entering the final 35+ games and that is continued pressure on defense that will, in turn, create opportunities for the offense. It’s no secret the Pacers’ offense has struggled, but the defense has won games for them thus far, which is all that matters. As far as improvement, the offense could begin to hit its stride with the return of Danny Granger very soon. Other areas of concern for Indiana are turnover margin, rebounding margin and wing rotation. Rookie Orlando Johnson could help resurrect Gerald Green’s season if he continues to work as hard as he is. Green’s season has been nothing short of disappointing and I think he has plenty of room for improvement.
The best way for this Pacers team to improve is on the offensive end. We’ve seen how well they operate defensively and only giving up 90 points a game is fantastic. But if you’re only putting up 91 points, there’s not a lot of room for error. Also those turnovers have got to come down. Guys need to watch their passes much better. But still look for each other on the offensive end. I would really like this team in that 95 point range for points on the offensive end. I think that gives them a much better chance to lock down on defense, and control the game they want to.