NBC Sports have posted up their NBA Post Free Agency Power Rankings and they have the Indiana Pacers in the third spot, which seems just the right fit for them. The Pacers have done some good wheeling and dealing through the off season to improve the bench, and bring back David West, which were the goals of this off season. David West coming back is huge for this team as they need that veteran presence, and he’ll get another two to three years to help this Pacers team ultimately knock off Miami, who is atop the power rankings. No surprise there as Miami won the the title, and they look for another run at their third title in four years. The Pacers have hopefully closed the gap, but we don’t know how all these new pieces are going to fit.
You can be happy with Chris Copeland, Luis Scola, Donald Sloan, and C.J. Watson all being brought in, but those pieces have to fit better than last year. The bench was a weak spot of the Pacers to the point where the starters logged plenty of minutes. The Pacers were actually the best starting lineup stats wise, so that’s a great testament to how good the starters are. But you need that bench to continue the momentum of that first unit. These pieces are probably going to take some time to get going, and the Pacers want to be right there competing with Miami for that top spot in the Eastern Conference, and even contend for a title.
Some other teams showing up in the top ten that look to contend with Miami and Indiana are Chicago, Brooklyn, and even the Knicks. You look at each team with their own issues to work through, and you have to wonder how they’ll each make it through. Chicago has Derrick Rose coming back for the Bulls, and he has to be 100 % mentally for the Bulls to contend with the Pacers for that division title. The Brooklyn Nets have new pieces in Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to go along with new coach Jason Kidd. That just seems like something that could blow up right away if the Nets aren’t winning right away. You have to look at this as a one shot to win it all for the Nets. This isn’t setting up some future, but the win now mentality that fans have, so the Nets are going to have to do something this coming season. The Knicks are the Knicks. They bring in Metta World Peace, who’s not even close to the player he was, so him going there should be interesting. Then you have J.R. Smith coming back to the Knicks, and how will he fit in with World Peace. Two combustible guys that should be on the same page about winning, so maybe it does work. But you know one blow up, and the media is all over it.