Pacers', Paul George's Best Interests Served by Getting a Deal Done Now

Yesterday, I wrote about reports of an imminent Paul George extension, but we were reminded within hours that “imminent” is not the same as “signed.”

This should not come as a surprise, nor should it be cause for alarm. Pacer.com’s Scott Agness’ report included remarks from both Larry Bird and Paul George that indicate both are comfortable with how the talks are progressing. Separately, Conrad Brunner of 1070 the Fan relied on his years of experience with the Hoosier Legend to conclude a deal was close:

To gauge Bird’s sense of urgency on the matter, consider: he skipped playing in the franchise’s annual golf outing at Brickyard Crossing because of the need to keep pushing George’s deal toward a conclusion.

If Bird misses free golf, something major is up.

So, while the final details are hammered out, I’d like to clarify some of the CBA rules on the subject and how they can affect the proceedings.

Deadlines

There are two deadlines looming in this process.

The first is this Saturday, when training camp opens. This is a very soft deadline – a self-imposed informal goal, more than anything else. In effect, everyone involved would almost certainly love to have this issue put to bed by the time the team takes the practice court. This is the primary reason that this news is bubbling to the surface right now. However, while missing this deadline would be disappointing to those involved – as well as Pacer observers – it does no real damage.

The second – October 31st – is a hard deadline. It is the CBA-imposed deadline for all extensions to rookie scale contracts for players entering their fourth year. Missing this deadline has very real meaning. If the two sides do not get an extension done by Halloween, then they will not get one done, at all.

The earliest the Pacers and Paul George can sign a new contract after that will be July 1, 2014 – when George will have become a restricted free agent.

Missing Deadlines

Right now, missing the October 31st deadline seems unlikely, but it should still be considered a possibility to be understood. The good news for the Pacers and Paul George is that missing this deadline has no concrete effect on the contract that Indiana can offer.

The good news for the Pacers and Paul George is that missing this deadline has no concrete effect on the contract that Indiana can offer.
Nor does it diminish the advantages afforded the Pacers with George as their “own” free agent.

Both now and next summer, the Pacers remain the only team that can offer a contract that runs for five years (after this season) with 7.5% raises. However, it is now important to understand two related, but distinct, CBA concepts – the “Designated Player” and what is colloquially known as the “Rose Rule.”

The “Designated Player” rule exists solely in the context of an extension for a rookie scale contract. The CBA mandates that no contract run beyond five (5) years from the date of signing. In the case of any contract extension, the five-year period includes the final year of the existing contract. For example, when the Bucks signed Larry Sanders to a four-year, $44 million extension, they were agreeing to a five-year contract in the eyes of the CBA – one existing and four “new” years.

“Designating” a player is the lone exception to the five-year limitation. In effect, it allows a team to offer it’s rookie a six-year deal – one existing, five “new” – at the maximum contract available for players of that experience (25% of the adjusted cap).

A note on the “adjusted” cap - Maximum player contracts are expressed in terms of percentage of cap. Players with fewer than seven (7) years experience are eligible for up to 25% of the “cap.” With seven to nine years experience, players can earn up to 30% of the “cap,” and after 10 years, they can get 35%. However, the “cap” in this instance is not the same as the team’s salary cap.

The salary cap for the teams is established using 44.74% of BRI (less benefits). Maximum salaries use a different “cap” which is based on only 42.14% of BRI (less benefits). The use of different “caps” was first negotiated in the 2005 CBA and remained in the 2011 CBA.

The simplest way to thumbnail a max salary is multiply the team’s cap by the max percentage (25-30-35), then multiply the result by 94.2%.

Teams are only allowed one “designated player” on their roster at a time, but this allows teams to lock up their young star well before getting to free agency, without having to sacrifice a year at the end of the deal. Other players who have been designated include Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, James Harden, and, just this summer, John Wall.

The opportunity to “designate” Paul George goes away on October 31st. However, the Pacers will still be able to offer him what amounts to the same contract next summer.

The “Rose Rule” only affects the maximum percentage of “cap” a player leaving their fourth year is eligible to receive. As discussed yesterday, should Paul George earn another All NBA nod (which I consider to be at least 50/50), he would become eligible for as much as the 30% max – or an estimated five years and $101 million.

The Pacers can offer George an extension today that would pay him a minimum of the 25% max (five years, $84 million), a maximum of the 30%, or anywhere in between. (This, of course, would be contingent on Paul qualifying for the Rose Rule this year.) Next summer, should George qualify, they could offer the exact same range of deals.

But, here’s the rub…next summer, any other team with cap space could also offer Paul George up to 30% as well.

But, here’s the rub…next summer, any other team with cap space could also offer Paul George up to 30% as well.
As a restricted free agent, George and his agent would be free to entertain advances from other teams, which would be almost certain to generate at least one max offer sheet. This max offer sheet could only be for four years with 4.5% raises (for a total of about $75 million), so it could “save” Indiana almost $26 million.

But, would that be “penny-wise and pound foolish?”

As Bird said, ““The number has got to be the number we both like. That’s what it’s all about.” Both sides very much want to get this deal done, but the Pacers have some very real money constraints to overcome. While these issues will exist to some degree throughout the length of Paul George’s contract, perhaps the most pressing exist in the first year of the deal.

As I noted in yesterday’s column, the Pacers will be limited by the luxury tax as they try to sign Lance Stephenson next year. The $2.9 million difference in starting salary between the 25% max and the 30% max materially alters the picture next summer. It reduces the currently available room to re-sign Stephenson (and fill out the roster) by one-third. That is why the Pacers are currently still negotiating. Here’s a reminder of the range of contracts between 25-30%:

roserange

Every percentage point costs or saves about $0.6 million. Indiana is trying not just to save money, but to preserve as much space and flexibility as possible to keep their core together. The Pacers are trying to contend long term on a budget, and this is the way things will always be.

But…Herb Simon and Larry Bird must pay attention to how they save. The difference between $101 million and $75 million looks attractive, until you understand the nature of that savings.

savings

Almost 90% of that $26 million savings comes in the final year of the contract, and it comes at the price of not having Paul George locked up for that year. While that mitigates the risk of George’s contract to the Pacers in some regards, it greatly enhances the risks of the Pacers being unable to retain George at the end of the contract. Also, you must consider the likelihood that the offer sheet would contain a player option for the fourth year. Paul George could become an unrestricted free agent a full two seasons sooner than the Pacers (and their fans) hope. 

Paul George could become an unrestricted free agent a full two seasons sooner than the Pacers (and their fans) hope.

But, worst of all, it offers exactly zero dollars of savings for next season. This sets up a nightmare scenario where the Pacers fail to (a) lock up Paul George for the full five years and (b) are unable to pay market price for Lance Stephenson – if he continues to emerge.

None of this even considers the stress that could potentially be put on the relationship between Paul George and the Pacers. Things are great right now, but if talks sour to the point that George is forced to seek an offer elsewhere, that cannot help but do damage. Paul George is an extraordinarily well-grounded young man, but no one is capable of being entirely unemotional about their paycheck. This cannot be taken lightly in an organization whose success is dependent on chemistry and culture working hand-in-glove with talent.

In effect, the Pacers have very little to win – and a whole lot to lose – by not getting this done before the season.

The Pacers are right to work as hard as they can to retain as much space and flexibility as they can. Bird will earn his money for next season by convincing Paul George to take something a little less than “it all” on this contract. He has a compelling case, but let’s be honest – it’s a somewhat unreasonable sacrifice to request of PG. Sure, it’s a lot of money, either way, but keep in mind, the Pacers would feel very little compunction about trading Paul, should it be in their best interest. Both sides attending their best interest (within reason) is sound responsibility, not selfishness.

However, it seems likely that everyone involved in the situation understands that keeping Paul George – and maintaining the outstanding relationship between the two parties – is of paramount importance. No one would be happy if achieving this goal limited or prevented the Pacers ability to keep Lance Stephenson – or any other player – but, it would still be a relatively easy decision.

With that in mind, it is in the best interest of both parties to get this deal done before Halloween. There will be plenty of hard choices to follow, but this is the one that is in front of them. Neither side can really deal with anything else until this is resolved.

They’re close, but the clock is ticking. It would be foolish of the Pacers – and Paul George – to let this linger into next summer.

 

Topics: Salary Central

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    PACERS 2013-2014 FORECAST
    Here are our player scouting reports and 2013-14 projections for the Indiana Pacers. (Note: Kevin Pelton’s stat projections are for players expected to play 250 or more minutes in 2013-14.)

    PROJECTED STARTERS

    GEORGE HILL, PG
    Pelton’s 2013-14 Projections
    12.7 PPG 3.2 RPG 4.4 APG .520 WIN % 5.9 WARP
    _______________________________________
    Scouting report
    + Takes care of the ball but doesn’t create a high volume of offense for himself
    + A natural combo guard whose playmaking skills have improved during time with Pacers
    + Tough, steady defender who doesn’t take a lot of chances; rebounds well for his position

    Analysis
    In the first season of his new five-year deal, Hill more than doubled his WARP, making his already reasonable $8 million salary seem like a flat-out steal. Though his production dipped a bit during the playoffs, Hill’s winning percentage and WARP have increased in all five of his NBA seasons. While SCHOENE is forecasting a bit of a regression, Hill is in his prime, with an established level of play more than good enough for a supporting starter on a contending team.

    Efficiency has been Hill’s calling card since his days at IUPUI, and last season he crushed the league average for true shooting percentage for the fourth time in a row. With his solid handle and stout body, Hill is a strong finisher at the rim and is deadly accurate from 15 feet and in. He’s at his best off the bounce, even if he’s too selective to create a high volume of his own offense. A natural combo guard, Hill’s playmaking has improved during his time with the Pacers, with an assist rate that has climbed 10 points in both of his Indiana seasons. He’s done all of this while simultaneously improving an already good turnover rate.

    Hill is an excellent one-on-one defender, especially with Indiana’s strong back line of defense to back him up. He’s a willing help defender who draws a lot of charges, but for the second season in a row he had iffy metrics against spot-ups. Given Indiana’s overall defensive rating, that’s not a huge problem, but it does speak to a lack of reach and a tendency to get caught out of position.

    There is some thought that the Pacers need a true point guard to get to the next level, but Hill fits Frank Vogel’s culture perfectly and provides a high level of production at an exceptional value. He’s not a cornerstone player, but he never was on that path anyway. Indiana can, and has, won with Hill in the backcourt. Perhaps someday Pacers fans will rue the trade that brought Hill to Indiana for Kawhi Leonard, but right now the deal is looking just fine for all concerned.

    PAUL GEORGE, SG
    Pelton’s 2013-14 Projections
    16.6 PPG 6.7 RPG 3.8 APG .580 WIN % 10.1 WARP
    _______________________________________
    Scouting report
    + Dynamic two-way player who has improved markedly in each season of his career
    + Increased volume of offense last season, but needs to guard against declines in efficiency
    + One of the league’s most athletic defenders, can overwhelm opposing wings

    Analysis
    Entering his fourth season and eligible for an extension to his rookie contract, George is about to become a wealthy young man. His rise has been meteoric, and there is no telling how high he can go. In three years, his winning percentage has soared from .477 to .593. When a player improves that much that fast, regression sneaks into his projection, hence SCHOENE’s forecast. However, continued progress will push George into MVP contention.

    George’s transition from supporting player to headliner hasn’t been without some small growing pains. Forced into a heavier offensive load because of Danny Granger’s absence for most of the season, George increased his usage rate by 4.1 percent. While a greater portion of used possessions became 3-attempts, and 2s took up fewer, his turnover rate increased to a high level for a non-point guard. Also, George became increasingly jump-shot oriented, and his foul-drawing rate slipped. Add it all up, and you have a medium-volume shooter and a true shooting percentage that fell under the league average.

    In many cases, you have to take playoff breakouts with a grain of salt, but George’s improvement has been so rapid, you have to pay attention to what he did this past postseason. Playing more than 41 minutes per game, George used even more possessions, but his true shooting percentage increased. So did his turnovers, but by the time Indiana was finally eliminated in seven games by Miami, George looked very much like a franchise player whose time has come.

    The emphasis on George’s offense should not take attention away from his all-world defensive capabilities. With the length to play either wing position and superior athleticism to almost every opponent he encounters, George is the perimeter-defense counterpart to Roy Hibbert’s interior anchor. George excels in all of the counting stats — defensive boards, steals and blocks — and his on-ball metrics are above average. That they aren’t elite attests to an occasional tendency to gamble, but the Pacers are a smothering defensive outfit with George in there.

    The next step for George is to become more efficient on both ends of the floor. That means protecting the ball better and not falling into the trap of settling for jumpers. On defense, he could freelance a little less. And his outside stroke could stand to become more consistent. That he has these areas still to grow is scary, and George puts in the work to iron out the wrinkles. He’ll soon be drawing a salary well into eight digits annually, and his salary slot will replace that of the expiring deal belonging to Granger after 2013-14. It’s more than a symbol of baton-passing.

    DANNY GRANGER, SF
    Pelton’s 2013-14 Projections
    12.9 PPG 4.0 RPG 1.6 APG .500 WIN% 3.4 WARP
    ________________________________________
    Scouting report
    + Former All-Star who played sparingly in 2012-13 because of recurring knee issues
    + Pre-injury, was a top offensive forward with a willingness to take crunch-time shots
    + Good one-on-one defender in isolation and against post-ups

    Analysis
    It couldn’t have been easy for Danny Granger to sit on the sideline while the franchise he was supposed to lead was advancing further than it ever did with him in the lineup. Now, with Paul George emerging as a franchise player and Granger’s contract set to expire, his greatest value to the Pacers’ future may be as a trade chip. Granger was limited to 75 minutes last season because of knee problems, and if he gets back his health, he’ll find a Pacers roster that grew comfy without him. His pre-injury arsenal was perimeter-based but varied, as Granger was above average whether working in isolation, coming off screens, posting up or spotting up in catch-and-shoot situations.

    Granger wasn’t a great finisher in the lane or a great playmaker even before being injured, and in the new Indiana pecking order, Granger may take on the appearance of a high-volume shooting specialist. To that end, his accuracy and range from behind the arc have never been in question, nor has his willingness to take big shots. If Granger can go, his presence should push Lance Stephenson to the bench.

    Granger isn’t noted as a great defender, but he’s been a key part of some excellent defensive teams. His metrics are solid on the ball and he is a useful help defender. His prowess on that end should continue to be serviceable, with George established as an elite and versatile perimeter stopper beside him. Reports on Granger’s summer rehab were good, and although he should be able to participate during preseason, don’t be shocked if it takes him a bit to round into form. SCHOENE is projecting a rather steep decline, and at 31, he’s getting up there for a wing. But until we see the condition of Granger’s knee, any statistical forecast is really just a stab in the dark.

    DAVID WEST, PF
    Pelton’s 2013-14 Projections
    13.6 PPG 6.7 RPG 2.5 APG .493 WIN% 4.2 WARP
    ________________________________________
    Scouting report
    + One of NBA’s most accomplished post scorers and rebounders
    + Dangerous pick-and-pop option with consistent midrange shot
    + Good position defender who leverages his strength well against longer opponents

    Analysis
    The Pacers accomplished their stated top summer goal by re-signing West to a three-year, $36 million deal, with a player option on the last season. The mercurial actuarial table of NBA aging patterns suggests that the contract could be an albatross at the end, but if West, 33, is in decline, the 10-year veteran certainly didn’t show it last season. Another season removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL, West posted career bests in WARP (7.9) and winning percentage (.570), and his ability to share the interior with Roy Hibbert helped give Frank Vogel’s team the hard-nosed reputation it deserved.

    With Danny Granger mostly absent last season, West’s usage rate climbed near the level it was in New Orleans, but his true shooting percentage remained above league average. While West’s turnover were up a tad, he handed out assists at a career-best rate and finished 69 percent of his shots at the rim, per HoopData.com, also a career best. West is a deadly post scorer, ranking in the 85th percentile, according to Synergy Sports. His efficient face-up game makes him a lethal pick-and-pop threat, and NBA.com/stats had him hitting 49 percent of his shots from 15 to 19 feet.

    West isn’t an all-world defender, but his strong build and solid core help him muscle longer players out of position, and another sign of his renewed athleticism was a block rate that equaled his previous high. West won a lot of hearts in Indiana by playing through an illness during the conference finals and chances are, before his new deal is up, he’ll win plenty more.

    ROY HIBBERT, C
    Pelton’s 2013-14 Projections
    11.7 PPG 7.7 RPG 1.7 APG .529 WIN% 5.5 WARP
    ________________________________________
    Scouting report
    + Elite-level defensive center and one of the league’s top rim protectors
    + Is a strong rebounder and has plus passing skills
    + Has trouble maintaining low-post position on offense, leading to inconsistent close-in shooting

    Analysis
    Hibbert finished 10th in last season’s defensive player of the year voting and wasn’t too happy about it, but he’s nonetheless established himself as one of the most valuable defenders in the game. With Hibbert anchoring the middle and protecting the basket, and Paul George engaged with the opponents’ top perimeter threat, the Pacers featured perhaps the NBA’s top defensive duo, one that was the foundation of their league-leading defensive rating. Hibbert’s defensive worth was on full display when he wasn’t in the game — his removal at the end of a Game 1 overtime loss to Miami in the conference finals was widely blamed for LeBron James’ ability to get to the basket for the game winner.

    Hibbert was a dominant force during the postseason, particularly against undersized Miami. His 21.2 postseason PER was easily tops on the Pacers, and his .576 true shooting percentage was 87 points better than his regular-season mark. The breakout raised Hibbert’s profile, but last season wasn’t all peaches and cream for the big guy, who was in the first season of the max contract he signed in the summer of 2012.

    Perhaps the weight of the deal got to Hibbert early, because he struggled badly on offense in the early going. He lapsed into his old tendency to take ill-advised jumpers, launching nearly twice as many long 2s as in 2011-12, hitting just 28 percent from that zone. Even though Hibbert is pretty accurate inside of 15 feet, he shot just 41 percent from the floor overall before the All-Star break, an almost unthinkable mark for a premier center. However, he cleaned up his game as the season progressed, hitting 51 percent after the break and 57 percent in April. At the end of the season, his per-play metrics at Synergy Sports ranked him in just the 31st percentile overall and in the 49th percent on post-ups.

    On defense, Hibbert is more crucial to Indiana as a team defender and rim protector than as a straight-up post defender. Per 82games.com, opposing centers put up a 15.3 PER against Hibbert, and Synergy rated him as just average against post-ups and the pick-and-roll. However, Pacers’ opponents shot just 50 percent in the restricted area with Hibbert on the court, but 57 percent when he wasn’t. That’s the value of the NBA’s second-leading shot-blocker.

    Hibbert gave back about a third of the 100-point mega-leap he took in winning percentage from 2011 to 2012, and the early season shooting issues drag down his SCHOENE projection for the coming season. He’s an established hard worker, and reports from the summer were that he was focused on adding bulk so that he could better establish, and hold, low-block positioning. He finished just 53.8 percent of his shots at the rim last season, and added strength could help in that regard. Just entering his prime, Hibbert is better than his projection and one of the top centers in the NBA.

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      RESERVES

      LANCE STEPHENSON, SG
      Pelton’s 2013-14 Projections
      7.6 PPG 3.2 RPG 2.7 APG .437 WIN% 1.0 WARP
      ________________________________________
      Scouting report
      + Attacking guard who can get to the rim in half court and finish at a high rate in transition
      + Good added-value skills as a passer and rebounder
      + Buys into Pacers’ culture of defense and gets under opponents’ skin with effort on that end

      Analysis
      One of the league’s most improved players, Stephenson added 117 points of winning percentage in his third season, going from sporadic appearances to 72 games as a starter for a conference finalist. Stephenson didn’t back down from a LeBron-led team in the playoffs, and even earned himself a vicious elbow from Dwyane Wade. Still, there is a disconnect between Stephenson’s metrics and his perceived value, though there is no doubt that with a plus-9.1 on-off rating, he fit well with Indiana’s starting unit.

      Stephenson is at his best attacking the hoop, though he tends to pick his spots. He’s also very good in the open floor, something that he might be able to feature more often if he’s shifted to the Pacers’ bench. He hit 51.8 percent inside the arc a season ago, but a 33 percent success rate on 3s leaves room for work. Stephenson is a willing passer but has to watch his rate of turnovers. His ability to create should make him a good counterpart for C.J. Watson on the Pacers’ second unit.

      On defense, Stephenson has bought into the Pacers Way, even asking to guard James during the playoffs. Playing next to Paul George allowed him to freelance, and he racked up 81 steals and 16 blocks, and drew 16 charges. He’s also one of the better rebounding guards in the league.

      As a role player, his true shooting percentage of .529 is too low for his rate of usage, and as a reserve he might be able to develop a more high-volume approach. Still, if his development stalls, it’s entirely possible he might not play nearly as often this season as people assume. SCHOENE sees Stephenson treading water this season despite being an age when he should remain on the upswing.

      C.J. WATSON, PG
      Pelton’s 2013-14 Projections
      5.2 PPG 1.3 RPG 2.1 APG .483 WIN% 1.7 WARP
      ________________________________________
      Scouting report
      + Good-shooting combo guard with excellent catch-and-shoot ability.
      + Not at best when asked to create too much offense or run the point.
      + Good defender who can swing between backcourt positions and plays the passing lanes.

      Analysis
      The Pacers picked up Watson with their bi-annual exception soon after the free-agent window opened. Watson should be an upgrade over D.J. Augustin as Indiana’s backup point guard provided he’s allowed to play to his strengths. Coming off his best NBA season in Brooklyn, never have those strengths been more evident.

      The Nets allowed Watson to play off the ball more than he did in Chicago, and focused his shot selection more behind the arc, where he responded with a career-best 41 percent success rate. Too often asked to initiate the offense as Derrick Rose’s back up in Chicago, Watson isn’t at home in that role. His assist rate fell with the shift in responsibility, but his turnover rate improved accordingly. Instead he simply shot the ball, succeeding at the 96th percentile on unguarded catch-and-shoot chances, per Synergy Sports. A career-high 64 percent of Watson’s field goals came off of assists.

      Watson is a solid defender with the size to check many shooting guards. He has good instincts in the passing lanes, though he’s almost too willing to gamble. Overall, Watson’s on-ball defensive metrics are a little above average. It’s a good package for a backup, one that is similar in many ways to that of Indiana starter George Hill. Watson isn’t the pure playmaker many feel Indiana needs, but he’s a fine addition. SCHOENE thinks that with last season’s success, Watson has found his niche.

      CHRIS COPELAND, F
      Pelton’s 2013-14 Projections
      7.5 PPG 2.4 RPG 0.6 APG .458 WIN% 1.2 WARP
      ________________________________________
      Scouting report
      + Excellent spot-up shooter from either forward position.
      + Active body and a factor on the offensive glass.
      + Below average on D, without the footwork to guard top 3s or the size to check powerful 4s.

      Analysis
      Copeland entered training camp last fall as a virtual unknown, without enough dependable data in his overseas history for SCHOENE to generate a projection. After making the Knicks and finishing his rookie season with a flourish, Copeland priced himself off cap-strapped New York and landed a two-year, $6.1 million deal from Indiana. That’s quite a year.

      Copeland is strictly a one-way player. He’s not much of a defender and he doesn’t pass. But with a 25.4 percent usage rate, a .583 true shooting percentage and an excellent 3-point stroke, he’s exactly the kind of role player the defense-heavy Pacers needed. Copeland runs the floor well and the Pacers will have a chance to run some with their second unit. He’s a terrific spot-up shooter and deadly off of ballscreens as he finishes at a high rate at the rim, but can also score efficiently on pop-outs.

      On defense, Copeland can swing between the forward positions, but he’s below average at both despite a decent block rate. Though not a standout, he’s not a defense killer, either. SCHOENE sees regression from Copeland’s lofty rookie shooting percentages, but he’ll be a key part of the revamped Pacers bench. Copeland underwent arthroscopic knee surgery near the beginning of August, but should be ready for the season. He turns 30 before the end of the coming campaign, so Copeland’s time is now.

      LUIS SCOLA, PF
      Pelton’s 2013-14 Projections
      8.4 PPG 4.4 RPG 1.4 APG .420 WIN% 0.3 WARP
      ________________________________________
      Scouting report
      + Heady, consistent player with a solid face-up game.
      + Solid on the glass, especially on the defensive end.
      + Good team defender who draws a high volume of charging fouls.

      Analysis
      The Pacers gave up a lot to get Scola, sending away disappointing 2012 acquisitionGerald Green, last year’s first rounder Miles Plumlee and a future first rounder to Phoenix. However, Indiana’s time to win is now, and none of those assets were going to aid that cause much in 2013-14. Scola, at 34, is also in win-now mode and will not only upgrade Indiana’s faulty bench from last season, but serves as an insurance policy against injuries or a decline from David West. However, it should be noted that Scola is far from a savior. Although he rebounded from a below-replacement-level 2011-12 season, re-discovering his lost rebound rate and cutting his turnovers back down, SCHOENE sees him headed back towards replacement level. But on a better Indiana squad, Scola won’t have to shoulder too heavy a load.

      Scola is an effective midrange shooter, especially from the baseline, and finishes well at the basket when he puts the ball on the floor. He’s not a great defender, but a crafty one who seems to always end up on the floor when opponents drive the lane. He’ll be fine on that end in Indiana’s system. Scola was terrific for Argentina in the FIBA Americas tournament and even strung together some 3-pointers, which was intriguing. He’s hit just four 3s during his NBA career, but given his touch on long 2s, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him become a threat from the corners.

      IAN MAHINMI, C
      Pelton’s 2013-14 Projections
      4.5 PPG 3.7 RPG 0.3 APG .384 WIN% -0.7 WARP
      ________________________________________
      Scouting report
      + Talented, active big body who had a poor first season in Indiana.
      + Solid finisher at the basket, unsuccessfully tried to incorporate a midrange aspect to his game.
      + A capable defender who is quick to come over to protect the rim as a helper.

      Analysis
      The Pacers thought they had rebuilt their bench last season, but with Danny Granger out of the starting lineup and D.J. Augustin and Gerald Green disappointing, it didn’t turn out too well for Indiana’s second unit. Mahinmi, who signed a four-year, $16 million deal before the season, added to the problems. Mahinmi’s .373 winning percentage was a career-worst and he finished well below replacement level.

      Shooting percentage was the primary culprit as Mahinmi posted a .496 true shooting percentage that was nearly 100 points below his previous career worst. He was fine around the basket, but took 112 long 2s, per HoopData.com, surpassing his previous career total. He hit just 31 percent from that range, so it’s uncertain what got into him. More evidence of wildness was a turnover rate that was borderline outrageous for a center.

      Mahinmi put up good on-ball metrics defensively, especially against post-ups, but Indiana’s defense understandably dropped off with Roy Hibbert off the floor. The Pacers are stuck with Mahinmi for three more years, so they’ll try to work out the kinks. The raw talent is there, and SCHOENE sees Mahinmi getting back to replacement level. It’s a start.

      ORLANDO JOHNSON, SG
      Pelton’s 2013-14 Projections
      1.6 PPG 0.7 RPG 0.4 APG .445 WIN% 0.3 WARP
      ________________________________________
      Scouting report
      + Rangy shooter who flashed explosive scoring ability in the D-League
      + Potential high-level rebounder for a wing, who has leaping ability
      + Impressive on-ball defensive metrics, has the length to guard opposing wings

      Analysis
      The Pacers may have found themselves with a diamond in the rough, acquiring the athletic Johnson from Sacramento shortly after he was taken in the second round of the 2012 draft. Johnson showed an impressive deep stroke and a willingness to play a role during his 619 minutes. He didn’t do much inside the arc, however, getting exactly half of his field goals from beyond it. Aiding Johnson’s cause to do more was a huge four-game stint in the D-League, when he averaged 23.5 points.

      The Pacers have been searching for an explosive instant offense option for a couple of years. If Johnson proves to be able to balance volume and efficiency while knocking down his open looks from 3-point range, he could challenge Lance Stephenson for court time. Helping the cause for Stephenson is a proven knack for hard-nose defense. Johnson is a more unknown commodity in that regard, but for what it’s worth, his per-play defensive points allowed ranked in the 90th percentile, per Synergy Sports. At 24, he was old for a rookie, so if Johnson is going to make a push for a rotation spot, it’ll happen this season.

      SOLOMON HILL, SF
      Pelton’s 2013-14 Projections
      0.0 PPG 0.0 RPG 0.0 APG .396 WIN% — WARP
      ________________________________________
      Scouting report
      + Good spot-up shooter and passer
      + Productive box-score stuffer with no clear standout strength
      + Poor defensive metrics, but has reputation for toughness

      Analysis
      The Pacers might have reached on a late first-rounder for the second straight season after taking Hill at No. 23. ESPN’s Chad Ford had Hill ranked 79th in his prospect rankings, just to cite one assessment of his potential. Hill was a four-year player at Arizona with a full arsenal of skills but no particular standout trait. As a senior with the Wildcats, Hill shot the ball well when left open, and maybe it’s his catch-and-shoot ability that intrigued the Pacers. According to Synergy Sports, his overall defensive rating was in the 21st percentile of college defenders, so it wasn’t that.

      Hill’s translations suggest possibilities as a 3-and-defense wing if you squint hard enough, but he’s nevertheless forecast to finish below replacement level, and the Pacers aren’t exactly in development mode.

      DONALD SLOAN, PG
      Pelton’s 2013-14 Projections
      0.0 PPG 0.0 RPG 0.0 APG .377 WIN% — WARP
      ________________________________________
      Scouting report
      + Natural combo guard still developing point guard skills
      + Shot high percentage on 3s in 2012-13
      + Struggles inside the arc, with nearly one of every five of his shots getting blocked last season

      Analysis
      With the Pacers well-stocked with combo guards, they needed a pure playmaker and are hoping that Sloan can fill a niche. So far in his career, he’s struggled badly as a shooter. Last season, he hit a decent percentage on 3s, but shot so poorly inside the arc that there was little reason to leave him open out there. As a point guard who is another combo guard at heart, he’s a work in progress. SCHOENE doesn’t see a replacement-level player in Sloan, and there is little in his professional record to believe the system is mistaken. The Pacers saw enough in Sloan to give him a cheap, two-year deal, but chances are he won’t see much of the court, barring a spate of injuries.

    • Realist

      The more I look at our roster the more I’m convinced we’ll be there in June.

      • poot

        statistically it is very convincing. these analysts did a pretty good job. I am normally very critical of ESPN analysts (shocker to you all i am sure) but Pelton is one of the good ones. He took the lead on writing this, and i am guessing he had Haberstroh/Doolittle do the dirty work, ie mine through data.
        i mean look at the sources, SCHOENE (WARP), hoopdata, 82games, nba statcube, synergy sports… they hit it from all angles and the Pacers came out stellar.

        as I look at the team makeup, i can’t help but wonder, what would the Pacers do with a Triangle offense?

        to run the triangle you dont need a playmaking point guard (CP3, DWill, Nash, Rose, etc) but you need a guy who can spread the floor and take advantage of defensive lapses, control the ball and make plays as needed… a system which highlights Hill’s strenghts and mitigates his weaknesses
        you need wings who can shoot with range, but also at least one has to be able to break down the D and get to the rim, possibly post up…. again this sounds just like Danny and Paul. PG is working to become that MJ/Kobe type player in a Triangle already, just without the system already in place
        and you need bigs who can pass, are smart, can set picks. at least one has to have mid-range, both should be able to score one-on-one in the post, but they don’t need to be imposing on offense. ability to crash the offensive boards is a plus… Hibbert and West and Scola encompass this well.

        look at successful triangle offenses and draw your own conclusions:
        Armstrong/Kerr -> Fisher/Shaw -> Hill
        MJ -> Kobe -> PG
        Pippen -> Fox/Rice/Odom -> Granger
        Grant/Rodman -> Horry/Pau -> West
        Cartwright/Longley -> Shaq -> Hibbert

        • Realist

          That’s actually quite interesting. Wonder if Brian Shaw ever took Frank’s temperature on that idea. It’s not like we’ve been offensive wizards at any stage recently. I am now hearing Marv Albert’s voice in-game: “Pacers in the triangle”.

          The bigs who can pass is obviously crucial, and we have that covered. Lotta jumpers in the triangle, suits us okay, everyone on the list except Ian has at least mid-range.

          Hill is the interesting one. You’re spot on re his strengths/weaknesses and as you say, it would accommodate him in the mould of a Paxson/Harper/Fisher type rather than a true point. Except he has the bonus of being more skilled, more athletic and a better defender.

          As long as our D remains elite, we should have some flexibility to tinker with all sorts of offensive experimentation. I imagine this has been Frank’s focus for the summer somewhat. I’m sure it’s more complex than “more touches for Hibbert/West” and “get into sets earlier”. In Frank we trust.

          • poot

            I wonder that as well. I love Frank’s “Smash-mouth” style, and the Triangle is definitely more finesse, cerebral, patient. I could imagine him being opposed to it because of the team identity (and that it is a huge investment to learn that system) but having a trick or two up your sleeve never hurts.
            What if Vogel had countered Miami’s “blitz zone” in Game 7 with the Triangle?
            Not saying it’d be the best option, but maybe something they wouldn’t have been ready for and could have helped us stay in the game while they made adjustments, gave up their schemes, etc…

            I also imagine a little pushback because, as you mentioned, “lotta jumpers,” and the Pacers have been a below average shooting team lately. but I think that it’s not because they are poor shooters, but rather due to poor shot selection. These guys all can make open looks, but pretty much the only way the Pacers got open looks last year was after swinging the ball around like crazy on a collapsing defense. There has to be some way to get better looks, and the Triangle could fit this team.
            It’s not like every other team to run it was perfectly built for it. I mean the Lakers won a title with Artest as their wing. Shaq and Rodman couldn’t shoot outside of 3 feet. But they all bought in and made it work together. I think that meshes with the Pacers top strength: team unity.

      • Realist

        I especially like how almost every Pacer player (in our top 7 or so) has a positive defensive comment. If you want a laugh, read the Knicks profiles for some polar opposites.

  • Realist

    Some of the comments on the George signing story (ESPN) just make me shake my head. I don’t get some people’s concept of “he’s not worth it”. According to Hoops Hype, these are the top 10 salaries due in 2013-14:

    1. Kobe Bryant = $30,453,000
    2. Dirk Nowitzki = $22,721,381
    3. Gilbert Arenas = $22,346,536
    4. Amare Stoudemire = $21,679,893
    5. Carmelo Anthony = $21,490,000
    6. Joe Johnson = $21,466,718
    7. Dwight Howard = $20,513,178
    8. Pau Gasol = $19,285,850
    9. Chris Bosh = $19,067,500
    9. LeBron James = $19,067,500

    A lot of value for money there? I don’t think it’s a stretch to say, that out of those ten guys, there is only one I would rather pay than PG (let’s say 90/5) $18 million next year. And that’s Lebron obviously. You could make a case for Howard maybe, but whatever. Next 10:

    11. Kevin Durant = $18,773,176
    12. Chris Paul = $18,668,431
    13. Dwyane Wade = $18,536,000
    14. Deron Williams = $18,466,130
    15. Rudy Gay = $17,888,932
    16. Zach Randolph = $17,800,000
    17. Brandon Roy = $17,779,458
    18. Derrick Rose = $17,632,688
    19. Blake Griffin = $16,402,500
    20. Paul Pierce = $15,333,334

    Okay, some actual studs amongst the duds. Durant, CP3 and probably still Wade deserving. Deron I guess. Rudy lol. Z-Bo mmm borderline. Brandon unlucky. Rose sure. Griffin I guess. PP yeah no.

    Anyway my point. Guys like Lebron (in particular), Durant, CP3 are massively underpaid, and therefore if PG’s deal is in the same vicinity, it’s like he gets tarred with the same brush, so to speak, and therefore it looks like _he’s_ stealing. When actually, he’s probably paid about right. When his NBA Rank comes in in a couple weeks, this will be clearer. Obviously, the real thieves are the Joe Johnson’s, Amare’s etc. See above.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but summarising the (somewhat obvious) reasons why this is a no-brainer:
    -> Basketball is a two-way game. Remember defense? Pepperidge Farm does. So does Indiana. Can anyone name a better defender of Lebron at the moment? Iggy? Tony Allen? Anyone under 29? Everytime I read “max deal for a 17 and 7 guy, lol” I wanna strangle someone.
    -> If we don’t give him this money, someone else will. See list above for more evidence (lol), and following on from that:
    -> What else is Indiana gonna do with the money? Remember last year when the world scoffed at the Hibbert deal. What else were we gonna do? Let our best club man walk and pay Chris Kaman and OJ Mayo instead? (lol).

    As I said earlier, Paul George will land somewhere between 8-25 in NBA Rank. If I had to guess, I’d say 16-20, but it’s quite hard to project amongst a bunch of first/second tier injured guys (Rondo, Love, Nowitzki, Rose etc). This deal is about right. When you factor in the gamble on even further potential, a gamble that small market Indy obviously has to make, then the deal is sweet. A no-brainer for both sides, as 8p9s has been clamouring for ages.

    • poot

      having lived many years in SoCal, with family still in Lancaster (Palmdale) I have many a feelers out in that area.
      And the Lakers fans out there GENUINELY believed that George would be a Laker next season.
      so condescending when I debate it with them…
      “yeah born and raised in Cali and he’s going to sign in Indiana. LOL.”
      “turning down Hollywood for a cornfield? you are so dumb”
      “Laker tradition, Kobe, Pau, Nash, endorsements, chance to become biggest star in biggest market, blah blah blah….”

      pretty much the only decent argument i heard was:
      “well, Indiana is so cheap they will try to lowball George and he won’t extend. then next summer he signs an offer sheet with LA that the Pacers won’t match.”

      turns out Indiana did kind-of lowball George. Reports about the contract between $90M-101M, now looking more like $80M with (likely) incentives to push up to $90M. and still he wants to stay.

      .

      anyway my point is, I think most of these commenters are actually just shellshocked Lakers fans (or other teams that thought they had a chance at PG) realizing that he is staying in Indiana. “Well we never wanted him anyway! 17 & 7… LOL yeah waste all your money on that!”

      It’s a pretty common overture. “Dwight is a diva, we didn’t want him to stay in LA anyway. never mind those banners that said #STAY…”

      if i was a fan of another team, i would be pissed / in denial too. Pacers are built so so well with staying power for at least 2 years. a championship will have to go through Indiana, that is a fact. the only hopes of bringing the Pacers down was removing their best player… and now it’s not happening. They all know that winning is going to be that much harder with Paul George on the Pacers.

  • Realist

    http://hoopshype.com/columns/rosen/paul-george-superstar

    Disqus ready, btw. I had a brief go.

    • poot

      Rosen is garbage. Look at his archive on hoopshype and go down to comments on any article he wrote. The majority of comments revolve around how poorly written the article was, what a hack Rosen is, and pointing out obvious errors…
      then you have the occassional comment from anonymous (certainly not Rosen using an alias) commenters who back him up…

      random examples:
      http://hoopshype.com/columns/rosen/the-coaching-rankings
      Ranks Vogel as #14 coach
      of the 13 coaches ranked above Vogel, only FIVE (5/13) are still with thier team
      he also ranks Mark Jackson as the 3rd WORST coach – “28. Mark Jackson (Golden State): Confused. Inept. Should have put in his time learning his craft as an assistant coach.”

      http://hoopshype.com/columns/rosen/the-trade-of-the-century
      he misses on almost every single point he makes in this article. Most egregious is his assessment of Nik Vucevic: “A big, slow, relatively unathletic player who can’t defend without fouling and has limited lateral movement. At best, he’s a backup center.”

      OOPS…
      He also had an article where he cited the Knicks as the only team that could even Challenge the Heat last season, let alone win. Pacers were not even mentioned.

      Rosen is a boner. plain and simple.

      But I like Hoopshype, their rumor mill is the best, the twitter feeds are very well done, and the salary charts are super userfriendly
      Definitely one of my go to sites, up there with BBall Ref, 82games and hoopdata. They really could do better on their articles though…

      • Realist

        Yeah I don’t mind HoopsHype for data at least.

        Bleacher Report did a (half decent, actually) coaches rankings a couple days ago that I skimmed through.

        http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1782209-power-ranking-all-30-nba-head-coaches-heading-into-training-camp

        Vogel at 6, not bad.

        Of the top 5…

        5) Carlisle (fine)
        4) Spo (sigh, but you knew it was gonna happen)
        3) Doc (I think he’s overrated but I accept that most other people don’t)
        2) Thibbs (fine)
        1) Pop (fine)

        It’d be hard to screw up #1, but I like that they have Thibbs 2nd.

        • poot

          those actually are very reasonable rankings. i have no problem with Vogel being ranked behind any of those guys, even Spo (bound to happen.) I’d even put Adelman above him,

          i like Bleacher report for their content and that their rankings often make sense, i just dont like their slideshows. the format annoys me and the pictures they use are very poorly chosen.

  • poot

    ESPN ranks top 10 Frontcourts… world explodes from laughter.

    I thought it couldn’t get any worse than when ESPN rolled this out in Dec2012. They did not include the Pacers in their top 10, and had the Knicks as their #2 team.

    Well, it just got worse.

    I get their reasoning putting Miami #1: “any ranking which lebron can be included in will automatically be #1 by default.”
    pure blatant slurping, ignore that Andersen, Haslem and Battier are garbage and Bosh can’t play center. they have Lebron so they are the best. OK Whatever.

    But Pacers still don’t make the top 10. Ranked ahead of Indy:
    #2 Pistons:
    “even if the pieces don’t fit together, they have so much talent and those guys can all play.”
    —the Pacers pieces fit together, Hibbert > Monroe, West > Drummond, and Granger is at least on par with Josh Smith. Yeah Smith has more overall talent, but his poor decision making and bad skills as a teammate negate the good points. and if you consider Scola, Copeland and George getting PT in the frontcourt, it’s not even close. I see no way Pistons should be ranked ahead of Pacers, and Pacers will show that in their 4 meetings this year.

    #3 Nets:
    “no explanation for why they are ranked this high, but they would have been ranked higher if not for their age.”
    —HAHAHA i won’t touch this one again but Net’s front court is soft and will be exposed. KG, AK and Pierce are no longer players, they are now only names.

    #4 Spurs:
    “they’re solid”
    —fine agree on them being solid. If age is an issue for DWest, how is in not for Duncan? In what world can Splitter be compared to Hibbert? Leonard has potential, but at the moment he is still no Granger, let alone George.

    #5 OKC
    “see Heat argument, except fill in Durant for Lebron”
    —pathetic. OKC’s biggest weakness is their frontcourt play, but whatever, i guess that doesnt matter when your SF is a stud. other than Ibaka, the rest are all garbage.

    #6 Clippers
    “Blake is awesome and Jordan, Dudley, Mullens, Jamison are all underrated”
    —no. Blake is solid and has potential to be awesome. Jordan, Dudley, Mullens and Jamison are all WAY overrated.

    #7 Hawks
    “they’re really underrated”
    —no. Brand is garbage (see last year) and Millsap is a good middle-of-the-road type player. How in the world can you compare those two to Hibbert/Scola/West…? sickening.

    #8 Mavs
    “Dirk is a top 25 player and the other guys still have something left to offer”
    —Dirk’s style of play BARELY qualifies as frontcourt, and the rest of the guys are junk that no one else wanted after Dallas struck out in free agency. I’m starting to believe ESPN has an agenda…

    #9 Nuggets
    “McGee is going to blow up and the other guys are good”
    —what?!?!

    #10 Blazers
    “LMA is top talent and adding Lopez & Robinson helps”
    —agree, they’re a good #10 choice for frountcourts, but how in the world does this compare to the Pacers?

    #11 Rockets
    “see Lebron/Durant argument. ignore that they don’t have a starting PF”
    —whatever.

    #12 Pacers
    “Hibbert isn’t as good as he played last year, DWest is old, and Granger is injured. PG won’t play in the frontcourt this year.”

    obviously this guy hates the Pacers. He contradicts himself constantly, but it reaches an apex with the Pacers.

    Hibbert played unsustainably well last season?
    What about Andersen? Drummond? Monroe? Splitter? Jordan? Why do they get a free pass and are expected to improve while Hibbert is not?

    West is old?
    What about KG/Pierce/AK? Brand? Andersen/Battier/Haslem? Duncan? Dirk?

    Granger is an uncertainty?
    If he stinks PG will play in the frontcourt all season. If not, then that means he is good enough to start for the Pacers, better than Pierce, Dudly, Korver, Carter, Barnes, Parsons, etc.

    And no mention of Scola? Copeland, Mahinmi…? Those guys aren’t worth mentioning but bench players like Andersen, Drummond, Kirilenko, Brand, Hickson and Asik give their teams merit?

    to add on to the joke, Memphis was not ranked either. It’s almost like they did 10 WORST frontcourts…

    my Rankings:
    #1 Pacers – duh
    #2 Grizzlies
    #3 Bulls
    #4 Warriors
    #5 TWolves
    #6 Spurs
    #7 Clippers
    #8 Rockets
    #9 Blazers
    #10 Pistons

    • Realist

      As mentioned in the comments, this WARP thingamajig clearly doesn’t put enough weight (read: none) on defense. Pacers, Griz and Bulls don’t sniff the rankings somehow? You might as well be pulling draft lottery balls out of the shoot and calling them the frontcourt rankings. Oh, after having the Heat at #1 of course.

      Also, people seem very high on Drummond’s potential. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t think this 6’10 center who can’t shoot a free throw’s stardom is a lock?

      OKC is a joke. Clips are a joke. Heavyweight teams for sure, but their weaknesses are the frontcourt obviously. Clips improved their wings nicely but then had to settle for the frontcourt scraps. Who wouldn’t wanna go to war with Hibbert/West/Granger/Scola vs DJ/Blake/Jamison/Mullens?

      And the whole “frontcourt” including the small forward is a little quirky. Especially when not including Paul George, but including Durant, who is really a 6’11 shooting guard. I honestly prefer Hollinger’s categorisation of Points/Wings/Bigs rather than Guards/Forwards/Centers, but whatever.

      Dolittle’s crazy ideas machine really doesn’t like Indy. 12th best frontcourt and 16th best center.

      To quote one of the comments on the ESPN page:
      “When was the last time you read one of these WARP articles and thought, “Dang, that article makes a lot of sense!” Never. Now I’m not here to dispute his methods, I’m sure he has a thousand spread sheets and 100 equations to figure these numbers but the results just don’t make sense. Makes you really, really miss John Hollinger.”

      • poot

        Drummond has an incredible skill set. i think he has potential to be better than Dwight. but neither he nor Monroe nor Josh Smith can guard a true power forward. it’s hilarious watching them get schooled by DWest and I look forward to watching Scola put a clinic on them too.

        i didnt even realize that WARP disregards defense, i thought it at least had some point differentials worked into there. it’s just as shocking that the Pacers (and Grizz/Bulls) frontcourt doesnt make the top frontcourts as it is that the Pacers ranked #6 in backcourts IF defense is not counted. Really? George Hill and Paul George are the sixth best offensive duo in the league? I find that hard to believe, but shoot, i’ll take it. imagine if you added defense, they’d be an absurd #1.

        you know who i like now? Marc Stein. Ranking the Pacers #2 in his preseason ranks. Stein does all the most high-level, non analytical stuff yet he knows the game and the league very well. looks like all it took was a step back to see, hmmm yeah, those Pacers are going to be tough to beat.

        • Realist

          Yeah, Stein knows what’s up…. cept for his Brooklyn ranking. But we’ll take it.

          • poot

            yeah, i mean brooklyn is top 4 in the east, ok, and the west has about 6 good teams, i expected brooklyn to be around #10 overall.
            better than all the west teams? that was a head scratcher. i can get ahead of bulls, too many question marks and weak bench, but all of the west?

            also i think he ranked ATL way too high (seems like all of ESPN is high on them, I think they will plummet out of the playoffs this year.) and DAL way too high, but he’s a homer for the Mavs.

            *********

            starting my “All OVERRATED” 2013-14 list

            #1 Brooklyn Nets
            How much can I wax on about this? I seem to be the only one who remembers when the 66 win, ECF contender ’09 Cavs brought in some old guys (former MVP 37yr old Shaq and aging All Star Jamison) and then lost 5 more games and only made it to the semis next season. But I guess bringing in KG, who was never near as dominant as Shaq, and Pierce, who is even older and more worn down than Jamison, is completely different. Because they’re joining a team where the best player isn’t Lebron but is… Deron Williams? If you want to read more about this, see my other posts, I’ve probably devoted 10,000 words to this topic already. Maybe KG/PP/AK will see some kind of revival that makes them play like they did 2+ seasons ago, but I doubt it. Even if they do, two words: Jason Kidd…

            #2 Atlanta Hawks
            I don’t think Atlanta will make the playoffs. Apparently I am alone on this. They got rid of their second best player, Josh Smith, and brought in Millsap to take his spot. While I like Millsap and believe he is underrated, he not only is not as good as Smith (especially on D) but he is a worse fit. Smith could roll over to play SF easily, Millsap will get exposed trying to guard SFs. He did it earlier in his career, but only played 39 minutes total last season as a SF. Smith played nearly 200 minutes last season at SF. It is a big difference.
            Then they replaced Zaza with Brand. again, Brand is kind of a joke at center. He has the bulk to contend with smaller centers, small ball lineups to an extent (since he can’t run) but put him on a 7 footer. At least Zaza can slow them down, Brand will need a lot of help. Considering Horford is now officially their center, and he is the same type of player (needs help,) this is going to make for a team that big men will be licking their chops to play.
            I’ll call Ayon for Petro/Ivan/Tolliver a wash, which is generous. I’ll call Carroll for Dantay/Stevenson the same, again, being generous.
            The other addition is the rookie Schroder, who is going to be good, but also will be playing behind Teague and (possibly) Lou Williams. He replaces Devin Harris. Obviously a much higher ceiling than Harris, but Harris was good for them last year. It will take time to pick that slack up. Even more if Lou is still on the mend.
            I guess the analysts are predicting Teague will really make a big step this season and Korver will be as valuable as what they paid him. But I think making the team smaller and weaker is not going to help out Korver at all. I see no way this team improves outside of Teague blowing up (and I already think he’s reached his ceiling.)
            Still scratching my head about this, somebody explain why Hawks are a playoff team.

            #3 Dallas Mavericks
            Here’s my impression of Dallas’s season: *FART*
            Dallas is one of those teams you will feel bubbling up from the depths, their shooters Dirk, Monta, Jose, etc, will begin catching fire and making the opposing team sweat. Then it comes… sniff.. sniff? What’s that? Oh it stinks. Doesn’t matter if you can score 110 points per game if your opponent is scoring 130 on you.
            In 1982, the Alex English led Denver Nuggets allowed opponents to average 126 points per game on 52.4% shooting.
            I predict the 2014 Mavericks will allow opponents more points at a higher rate. seriously. How does that translate to a playoff team?

            #4 New Orleans Pelicans
            This organization has done a phenominal job of putting together a talented young roster. Davis, Holiday, Evans, Gordon, even Anderson and Aminu, can all grow together, and become a really nice team. But currently, Davis is a good player who has not lived up to (albeit lofty) expectations, Holiday ran one of the worst teams in the league last year, Evans best season was as a rookie several years ago and Gordon is an enigma considering he’s been injured the past 3 years. This year they put it all together? not so fast. I see them as a perennial playoff team starting in about 2-3 years, but not this year. Sorry guys, too much talent out West for you to sneak in with Davis holding down the center spot.

            #5 Miami Heat
            Who else? Seemingly taking every ranking as #1 with a bullet, perhaps there is reason to not rank them so high? I see many analysts predicting the Heat will not only repeat, but will not make the Finals. Of course they are heavily outnumbered by those doing the “incumbent” “safe pick”… I don’t watch cricket, but if you asked me right now to predict next season’s cricket champion, I’d choose whoever won last year. Regardless of what they have done since then…. seems like that’s how most do it for the NBA.

  • poot

    #NBARank (2012 score) ———> 2013 #NBARank, score (Diff)

    #28 George (7.49) ————-> #12, 8.39 (+16, +0.90)
    #40 Hibbert (7.19) ————–> #21, 7.84 (+19, +0.65)
    #58 West (6.42) —————-> #44, 7.02 (+14, +0.60)
    #43 Granger (7.02) ————> #69, 6.22 (-26, -0.80)
    #87 G. Hill (5.71) —————> #85, 5.95 (+2, +0.24)
    #405 Stephenson (2.52) —–> #121, 5.34 (+284, +2.82)
    #68 Scola* (6.18) ————–> #129, 5.23 (-61, -0.95)
    #-NR Copeland* (N/A) ——–> #188, 4.48 (+313, +4.48)
    #230 Watson* (4.03) ———> #238, 4.00 (-8, -0.03)
    #251 Mahinmi (3.76) ———> #271, 3.64 (-20, -0.12)
    #-NR S. Hill* (N/A) ————> #383, 2.64 (+118, +2.64)
    #462 Johnson (2.06) ———> #418, 2.39 (+44, +0.36)
    #480 Sloan* (1.89) ———–> #486, 1.88 (-6, -0.01)

    Any predictions for the rest of the rankings?

    I think every player should move up. (ESPN royally fucked this up)
    They will likely bump down Granger like 40-50 spots. (only 26 spots, not bad)
    Stephenson should jump at least 250 spots. (called it, 285 spots)
    George could be top 10? (it’s possible!)

    .

    Also kept an eye on the departed Pacers…
    #174 Hansbrough (4.59) ——-> #208, 4.25 (-34, -0.34)
    #147 Augustin (4.84) ———–> #227, 4.09 (-80, -0.75)
    #275 S. Young (3.55) ———-> #317, 3.11 (-42, -0.44)
    #421 Pendy/Ayers (2.41) ——> #324, 3.07 (+97, +0.66)
    #246 G. Green (3.82) ———-> #326, 3.03 (-80, -0.79)
    #433 Plumlee (2.30) ———-> #414, 2.41 (+8, +0.11)

    Good Riddance!!!

    .

    Let’s take a look at the team (12-man rotation) makeup. 2011 Rankings:
    Top 50: 1 (Granger)
    51-100: 3 (Collison, Hill, Hibbert)
    101-200: 2 (Hansbrough, Dunleavey)
    201-300: 4 (George, McBob, Rush, Jones)
    Bottom 200: 2 (Price, Stephenson)

    2012 Rankings:
    Top 50: 2 (Hibbert, Granger) +1
    51-100: 3 (West, George, Hill) –
    101-200: 2 (Augustin, Hansbrough) –
    201-300: 3 (Green, Mahinmi, Young) -1
    Bottom 200: 2 (Stephenson, Johnson) –
    analysis: replaced a 200 level player with a top 50 player. awesome.

    Now look at the 2013 rankings
    Top 50: 3 (George, Hibbert, West) +1
    51-100: 2 (Hill, Granger) -1
    101-200: 3 (Stephenson, Scola, Copeland) +1
    201-300: 2 (Watson, Mahinmi) -1
    Bottom 200: 2 (Hill, Johnson) –
    analysis: replaced another 200 level player, this time with a 100 level player. good. replaced a 50-100 level player with a top 50 player. also good.

    analysis of last two years:
    replaced two 200 level players and one 50-100 level player
    with one 100 level player and two Top 50 players.
    ….win.

    • poot

      FYI, biggest improvement from 2012 in #NBARank

      #371 J. Butler (+305)
      #333 L. Sanders (+288)
      #405 STEPHENSON (+284)
      #366 T Harris (+240)
      #277 Drummond (+223)
      #437 Prigioni (+206)
      #365 Harkless (+187)
      #282 Vucevic (+185)
      #484 G Smith (+184)
      #343 R Jackson (+183)
      #293 Waiters (+183)
      #211 Lillard (+181)
      #378 Nicholson (+181)
      #458 C Joseph (+178)
      #469 A Anderson (+176)
      #499 Bazemore (+167)
      #429 Ezeli (+162)
      #410 Fournier (+161)
      #353 Shved (+160)
      #234 Valanciunas (+152)

      • Realist

        Scola is like the ultimate sleeper. Got amnestied (due to Houston’s endless salary cap quest) even though he was good. Got traded from Phoenix for garbage cause he doesn’t align with their youth/tanking strategy.

        You’re right. It’s like they expected him to keel over and die first day of training camp. Reports of this remain unconfirmed.

        • poot

          it seems like it. The guy is still a legit starter in the NBA. Was I the only one who watched FIBA Americas this summer? He was the tournament’s leading scorer – 18.8 ppg. He was on the All Tournament team! he played 32 minutes per game and played in every game!

          i’ve been a fan of Scola’s game for a long time. the one thing i don’t like is the flopping but he has really cut down on that the last few years. i think it was maybe a Houston thing (or playing with Battier.) Other than that I love his offensive moves, so so good. Maybe i overvalue him. but i dont think so.

          this guy sure doesnt overvalue him:
          http://wagesofwins.com/2013/08/26/the-nba-offseason-list-part-4-the-last-dress-rehersal/
          he’s really full of himself for guessing the spurs would beat the heat in 6 last year, and that the celtics would have repeated in 2009 if not for KG getting hurt. wow, nice claims to fame dude. anyway i think it’s hilarious that he says: “Indiana’s roster got worse and needs their players to be continue with last year’s career years.” HOW??? His system also gives Toronto bad scores, so I am guessing it is not from losing DJ and Tyler, or that he at least recognizes that CJ and Scola are improvements. So is it swapping out Green and Young for Copeland and Granger? Even 50% of DG is better than either of those guys. And their stars are entering their primes, some are not even to their primes yet. crazy….

  • Pingback: The 10-man rotation, starring Paul George, who’s about to get *paaaaaaaaaid* | Ball Don't Lie - Yahoo Sports

  • Realist

    Pacers land in Manila! Wooo! Larry Legend has made the trip, you beauty.

    Doesn’t look like Reggie made the trip, oh well. Jalen Rose though, close enough right? Right?

    Sure.

    • poot

      thoughts on the preseason opener?

      hibbert looks good and strong, but rusty as far as touch and timing goes. this should improve as his focus shifts from the weight room to the court

      dwest was solid, and clearly slow playing. no need for a vet like him to go above 50% in a prex game.

      george looked awesome, every aspect of his offense seemed at least a little bit improved. his hot shooting in the third put a huge smile on my face.

      lance looked good. he has been working on his shot and swished some free throws, i’d love to see him more with the bench unit

      hill was good too. made some nice plays. looks improved. didnt stand out, but its hard to playing opposite of d-rose’s first game back

      granger looked ok. he moved around decently, but his shooting was awful. i was surpirsed he scored. i am releived that he is clearly above 50%, i’d say above 80%. right now there is no way DG could command anything above a minimum salary next season, but he has plenty of room to improve, and by all accounts, he was slow playing his return (which was very obvious in juxtoposition to rose’s balls to the wall approach)

      solo hill was horrible. i liked his effort and tenacity on defense, but he looked lost out there. the missed dunk was a really bad first impression to make on the fans. i have trouble seeing him crack the rotation.

      scola looked like he was slow playing too. made some nice moves in the post but made no effort on D. you wonder if this will persist, but i think the system will help scola in the long run

      watson was a nice change from DJ. he made some shots and moved the ball well. still, he is a lower tier backup point guard, but he should be a big upgrade. having Lance do some spot duty at point helps, and will be key against teams with attacking points like the bulls.

      mahinmi was good too. he had some awesome plays including a bad ass dunk. he will be good.

      copeland, not sure why he played so little, maybe the recovery from injury. glad to see he is a willing, even if too willing, shooter. glad he made one.

      overall. the rust was clear, but my expectations included that factor. overall i think the guys look good. the rookie, not as good as i hoped, but DG is better. he won’t shoot 2-10 every night. once he gets back his rhythm and feel for his teammates and spacing, it will come together.
      i think the Pacers get off to a slow start this season, getting acclimated to playing with new pieces Granger and Scola, as well as Cope and CJ. I think once they get some time together, they will be scary. especially if the returning members keep up their play from before, they can carry the Pacers to a good record until everything clicks.

      • Realist

        I caught bits of it. A bit disappointing. PG played well, so that’s the main thing.

        Solomon Hill.. ugh. Only way is up.

      • AMF1322

        My first impression it’s: this team it’s clearly warming up. I think Granger will start as the sixth man if he keeps shooting like this. I haven’t seen any pre-season match, but looking at the stats, George is elevating his floor (I’m refering to the minimal production of every night). Orlando seems like a good/great option from the bench (FREE THE PULP!). I think that Indy will have a top 5 starting five, and a top 3 bench, either it’s CJ/Pulp/DG/Scola/Ian or CJ/Lance/Cope/Scola/Ian. Scola will improve his D in the season, and will be HUGE for the Pacers (as an argentinian, I can tell you that he will give everything he has when is needed). Just picture how easily he will score over the back-ups PF of every other team. I think the key thing to work on now it’s a better shot selection of the starting backourt, specially between Hill and Lance. This team can’t let a Hill-1-of-8-Lance-1-of-2 game anymore if it wants to be elite.

  • poot

    Zack Lowe is GARBAGE! GARBAGE TRASH FILTH SCUM GARBAGE

    He divides the NBA up into tiers like so
    The Contenders, Group A
    The Contenders, Group B: Prove It
    The Juicy Middle
    The Eastern Conference Morass
    The Eastern Swing Teams
    The Western Conference Morass: Can Anyone Defend?
    Just Plain Bad
    and
    Back Up the Tanker Truck

    SO which group do the Pacers fit into? Are they contenders like the Heat and Spurs? Do they have something to prove first like the Nets and Rockets? Or are they worse?

    Clearly the Pacers are contenders, right there toe to toe with Miami. But Lowe fucks this up. He gives the Group A to the following:
    HEAT – admits they got worse but suggests Spolestra will let them rest more in the regular season so they are going to be better than ever in the playoffs. Lowe is an unapologetic Heat homer, has been for years, writes the most disgusting crap whenever the Heat are mentioned. But whatever, they are contenders so this is fine
    SPURS – agree, until TD retires, they are contenders every year
    BULLS – What??? how can you have one but not the other? He begins by saying that their starting 5 have never played a game together (unlike the Pacers where either starting five, Danny or Lance, has a full season and postseason of experience starting together.) He cites Rose as a question mark and admits their bench is very weak. But whatever, these things don’t matter i guess?
    THUNDER – what what what????? WHAT??? he admits their bench is a joke but suggests Jeremy Lamb is ready to make the leap from garbage to star. to him, Westbrook’s health is not a question, as he and Durant will always keep OKC in the conversation.

    then he drop the PACERS into Group B:
    states they got better in every way and have a cohesive unit. talks about how well they match up with EC foes. raves about depth. then suddenly out of nowhere says “this team can’t score and throws the ball away.” ok? i dont agree. he says they were horrible at scoring before Hibbert’s wrist injury went away. well duh, how were they after that? well he says they struggled with the Knicks in round 2. I watched round 2, there was no struggle. If they struggled with the Knicks, then the Spurs were LUCKY TO SURVIVE against the Warriors. crazy…

    .

    Lowe, i always hated him. i like his approach and writing, but the Heat homerism is just disturbing. then how he makes contradictory arguments all the time. Oh it’s ok for one team to be like that but not the other.
    Bottom line, he knows the Pacers are a threat and is hoping that subdueing them will drop attention and force the league to pick another East team to challenge the Heat this year.. Chicago or Brooklyn anyone? yeah, like you matter that much Lowe. get over yourself, you keep making stupid opinions and it will catch up to you.

    LOWE IS GARBAGE. PERIOD.

    • Realist

      I knew I could count on you.

      I quite like Lowe but I think we’re group A. The trouble with the Knicks comment seemed especially off. We won 3/3 at home and won on the road. I dungeddit. Oh well, more under-the-radar for us.

      • poot

        i know i like Lowe too, as i said i like his approach and his writing… but i think he needs to take a step back and be a little more bold.
        he takes the “safe” way every time. my cricket example was spot on- when you don’t know who to pick, pick the team that has won before. they’ve “proven” something, while the others all still have something “left to prove”. it’s boring, its trite, and despite his good writing skills and ability to dig up interesting analysis, all of that is lost on a moot point.

        So Lowe picked his “Contenders” as Heat, Spurs, Bulls, Thunder.

        Guess what? Most wins over past 3 seasons:
        Heat – 170
        Spurs – 169
        Thunder – 162
        Bulls – 157
        Nuggets – 145
        Lakers – 143
        Grizzlies – 141
        Celtics – 136
        Mavs – 134
        Pacers – 128

        Hmmmmmmm…. i wonder how Lowe decided on those 4 teams to be his contenders….. hmmmmm….

        i am trying to appreciate the Pacers being “under-the-radar” but it’s hard. think back to last season, specifically after we took out the Hawks. Knicks fans (and the majority of the nation who is shoved NY sports down their throats while ignoring the Pacers) all thought it was going to be Heat/Knicks in the ECF. They mocked the Pacers, bragging about Melo, JR, Tyson, even Kidd. I thought that their obnoxiousness would subside after we thoroughly dismantled the Knicks, but instead they just all became Heat fans. “who cares about the Knicks, their team was sorry this year, LOL i can’t believe Indiana lost 2 games against them, the Heat are going to sweep the Pacers in 3 because they will forfiet from crying too much.” No matter how well the Pacers do, whatever kind of defensive records they shatter, it’s going to be an annoying year, until we take out the Heat.
        Even then, people will just say “well the Heat were done anyway, championships will go through [insert city with ESPN Index here].”
        Aw well, the life of a Pacers fan is like this….

  • poot

    Jimmy Butler

    I like Jimmy Butler. I watched him all season long and thought… “Man this guy could be like Paul George some day. He gives me similar feelings as George did in his rookie season, and even moreso his rookie postseason.”

    of course, last year was Butler’s sophomore season. Still he reminds me far more of the PG of his rookie season rather than the stud who basically led the Pacers in his sophomore year.

    After Paul George’s Rookie season, he was NBARanked at #205

    After Jimmy’s Rookie season, he is NBARanked at #66

    Keep in mind PG was only NBARanked #75 after his stellar sophomore season.

    It boggles the mind. Perhaps they are thinking “Well we totally dropped the ball on PG so let’s try to be ahead of the curve with Jimmy Bulter”???

    The comment on the site is fantastic:
    “Those who watched the regular season will think this is too high a ranking… but if you watched the Heat series………”

    Really?
    I think more people watched the Heat series than regular season Bulls games. am i right? I know I watched that series pretty close.

    And Butler’s biggest accomplishment -by far- was playing all 48 three times.
    He led the team in scoring… once.
    But he shot 50% or under… all 5 games.

    He led the team in rebounding…. once.
    But he had 5 or fewer… every other game.

    He totaled 11 assists.
    But he also had 11 turnovers.

    oh yea…. and his team only won ONE game (thanks to a LeBron airball)

    Like i said… I like Jimmy, think he could be a future star like PG.
    but #66 RIGHT NOW?
    hell no.
    i’d put him around #125, close to Lance or maybe a little ahead.

    but i think i get it… the Bulls have no depth. Who is the backup to Butler? Hinrich? Dunleavey? Mike James?
    it makes sense to rank their starters so high, because their bench is junk. clearly the Pacers have the luxury of playing thier reserves a ton, so the starters can take it easy. as is per usual with Thibbs teams, his starters are going to have to go balls to the wall all season. so yeah, give them a high rank because they will be getting a lot of minutes and a lot of stats.

    Mohammed #348 <<< Mahinmi #271
    Teague #274 <<< Watson #238
    Hinrich #183 << Copeland #188 (debatable)
    Gibson #103 > Scola #129 (just plain false)

  • poot

    PRESEASON REVIEWs:

    through FOUR games…
    (note: watched all of games 1 & 4, so far have only watched the 4th quarters – garbage of garbage time – of games 2 and 3, but have the torrents downloading as we speak and will review tonight)
    (per game stats adjusted to per36 stats)

    Paul George is looking good. 24ppg, 6rpg, 2apg, 1spg. His shooting looks better, as evidenced by his 53% rate including a sweet 50% from deep. He has a decent +/- rating, but needs to work on free throws (60%.) His turnover rate is alarming (4tpg) and he averages nearly 6 fouls per 36.

    Hibbert is shooting an atrocious 32%. Still, he is putting up 13ppg, 9rpg, 1spg and 5blg. That’s what matters right- a solid 9 boards and an incredible 5 blocks per36, to only 3 fouls. He’s also putting up a good 77% at the free throw line. Asides from the shooting, 3 turnovers per36 and 0 assists are a concern. Clearly he is struggling on offense, though his +/- is decent.

    DWest is a rock. 16ppg, 5rpg, 2apg, 2spg, 1bpg. All around awesomeness. He is shooting well (50%) but needs to work on the free throws (67%.) Though he is turning the ball over too much (3tpg) he is still top 5 on the team in +/-.

    George Hill is stuffing the stat sheet with 17ppg, 5rpg, 7apg, 1spg and 1bpg. Though only shooting 37%, he is making 43% from deep and 100% from the line. The 7 assists to only 2 turnovers is very encouraging, and his +/- is decent

    Granger’s shooting is improving slowly. Once a dead-eye, now shooting only 27%. However with 36% from deep and 80% from the line, there are encouraging signs. He stuffs the stat sheet: 13ppg, 6rpg, 3apg, 2spg and 1bpg continue to inspire confide and his +/- is not too bad. Keeping his fouls down and the 3:1 ast:to ratio means his game is there, and the shooting should catch up. Once DG gets his groove, he should be a solid all around player for the Pacers.

    Lance has been a dud so far and has yet to make a 3 (0%.) His 47% shooting is not bad, but 67% from the line is poor. His 10ppg, 6rpg, 2apg and 1spg is pretty good for a sixth man type. He doesn’t get many fouls but has been turning the ball over quite a bit (3tpg.) His +/- is fourth worst on the team, not a good sign.

    Scola has been a mix bag. He puts up 18ppg, 7rpg, 3apg, 1spg and 1bpg. Very good. All with only 2 turnovers per36. But he is shooting 39% with 75% from the stripe, and is averaging nearly 6 fouls per36. His time on the floor has not been efficient, he hasn’t played much D, as evidenced by having the third worst +/- on the team. I can only expect his efficiency will improve as chemistry improves.

    Orlando Johnson leads the team with 26ppg, and adds an incredible 10rpg, second on the team. He is shooting an amazing 69% including 75% from 3pt range. He is second on the team in +/-, and the only guy getting regular playing time with a positive +/-. Needs to work on free throws (55%) and is yet to show up outside of scoring and rebounding: 0apg, 0spg, obpg. He’s done ok at keeping his fouls and turnovers down. Right now he is a prime candidate for preseason MVP

    Copeland has been a surprisingly poor shooter. Only able to generate 11ppg on 24% shooting is bad. His specialty, 3 point shooting, has not been there (20%) and neither have his free throws (60%.) He is adding 4rpg and 1apg but not doing much else, especially on D. His +/- is barely decent.

    Mahinmi provides the good with the bad. 8rpg, 1spg, 1bpg is good. 6ppg on 33% shooting (and 33% from the line) with an ast:to ratio of 0:4 is bad. He’s also fouling a lot. He is horrible on offense and a beast on defense It is not working for the Pacers, as he is easily worst on the team in +/-.

    Watson has been a sweet upgrade to DJ. Chipping in 13ppg, 3rpg, 1apg, 1spg, 1bpg on 47% shooting including 55% from 3 and 88% on free throws. The problem is he is turning it over a team high 5 times per36, giving him the second worst +/- on the team. The shooting is there but the point guard skills are leaving something to be desired…

    Solo Hill is worst on the team with 3ppg and 17% shooting, including 17% from deep and 50% from the line. Though he pitches in a team worst 3rpg, 2spg, and a decent 2apg to 2 turnovers, he fouls a lot. Somehow, he has the 4th best +/- on the team.

    Sloan gets to the line, good for a guy who shoots 22% from the field but 100% from the stripe. He is making 50% of his 3s which is nice. His 9ppg, 5rpg and 6apg, second only to GHill, are a nice addition. It works for him as he has the team’s third best +/-.

    Hilton Armstrong probably won’t make the team. Notably, he has 0 turnovers and a team high 11rpg (and 1apg, 1bpg.) He’s putting up 11ppg with a team low 2 fouls per36, but it’s all from the free throw line (75%) since he hasn’t made a field goal yet (0%.) He has no steals, but has the team’s best +/-. Right now it looks like a 25-30% chance he makes the team.

    • AMF1322

      With Scola instead of PsychoT, Mahinmi can relax in offense and try to be kind of a ‘The over-rated bird’ Andersen for Indiana: a guy that never shoots, just sneaks next to the basket and dunks. He can cover Scola in D defending the best of the oposing bigs on-court at the time. I see a really good duo there for this season.

      It’s nice to see The Pulp shooting well, because it’s someone who gives Indiana a lot of new options for this bench. Imagine: a small fast bench line-up of CJ-Pulp-Lance-Granger-Ian; a big line-up of Lance-Pulp-Granger-Scola-Ian; and a good ‘garbage time’ lineup in CJ-Pulp-SoloH-Cope-Ian.

      If it’s my call, I would put SoloH in the bench instead of Sloan. If a pg gets injured in a game, Lance might play as the back up pg for THAT game, and put Sloan the other one. SoloH it’s still young and might be a good Paul George back-up for next season (if Granger don’t come back), so he needs development, and playing garbage time for him could be really useful (and with this bench and starting 5, I’m pretty sure this team will have a good number of undisputed victories), while we can get even a better version of Sloan next year.

      I think this team still needs a third Center. Nobody important, just someone who is almost 7 feet tall and don’t shoot in it’s own basket, just in case of an injury or something like that.

      • poot

        I think Scola could work. He is the ying to Ian’s yang. All offense, no defense to no offense, all defense.
        Scola played over 16% of his minutes last season at the 5.
        granted, the Suns stank so they played pretty poorly, but relative to the Suns overall performance last season, when Scola played with the starters (swap in Morris for Gortat) the Suns were a +129 per48.

        yes the sample size is small, 41 minutes for that lineup, but the other lineups that made up his time at center were garbage time, including guys like Wes Johnson and Kendall Marshall and both Morris twins together. In other words, a product so bad the Pacers couldn’t put out a worse lineup if they tried.

        Scola works well with Ian at center, as Ian prefers the right side of the court while Scola dominates the left.
        But he doesn’t work as well WITH DWest, as they dominate the same portions of the court on offense. Both heavily favor the left, though DWest loves the head on shots and works the post even tighter.
        Going small, he works great with Danny at the PF, because Danny stretches out mostly behind the 3 point line, and if he goes in, it almost always ends up being a shot at the rim. Among mid-range (Scola land) shots, he prefers the right side. perfect pair… except on D.
        Not as great a fit with Cope, as Cope lives outside the 3 and does nothing inside, except after a pump fake and a step inside the 3. However, when he does this, or even when he’s shooting 3′s in general, he greatly prefers the left side. So there would be little room for Scola to operate and kick it out to an open Cope. And it would be atrocious on D.

        So I’m not sure who the 3rd center would be either. Scola would work, but not an ideal fit, unless a ride side player comes in. From what I’ve seen from Hilton Armstrong, I’d advise no.
        One option: Drew Gooden. works the right side of the floor. Would fit well with Scola. or DWest. or Cope.
        One year partially guaranteed? He’d probably take more money to play in China… but if not, could be a lottery ticket.

  • poot

    HIBBERT AND GEORGE IN #NBARANK TOP 25

    predictions on how it fills out?

    my rank
    1- lebron (espn: 1) +0
    2- durant (espn: 2) +0
    3- cp3 (espn: 3) +0
    4- PAUL GEORGE (espn: 12…. nyuk nyuk nyuk, wise guys eh?) -8
    5- harden (espn: 4) +1
    6- kyrie (espn: 7) -1
    7- dwight (espn: 6) +1
    8- rose (espn: 8) +0
    9- s curry (espn: 5) +4
    10- parker (espn: 11) -1
    11- melo (espn: 14) -3
    12- aldridge (espn: 16) -4
    13- love (espn:10) +3
    14- dwill (espn: 19) -5
    15- ROY HIBBERT (espn: 21… I could care less too ROY!) -6
    16- gasol (espn: 9) +7
    17- westbrook (espn: 22) -5
    18- horford (espn: 18) +0
    19- duncan (espn: 15) +4
    20- noah (espn: 23) -3
    21- griffin (espn:13) +8
    22- bosh (espn: 24) -2
    23- kobe (espn: 25) -2
    24- wade (espn: 17… LOL better than ROY, what a joke) +7
    25- wall (espn: 20) +5

    after trying to make this it is a lot harder than it looks. all these players are good, and not too big a difference between them… top 3 should be obvious. rose, westbrook, kobe, love, even wade, dwight, and dwill are big question marks due to injuries. i decided to penalize for games missed, i mean an AllNBA 2nd team guy who plays 82 games is more valuable than an AllNBA 1st team guy who plays 50 games, right?

    the poot chart:
    PAUL GEORGE -8
    ROY HIBBERT -6
    dwill -5
    westbrook -5
    aldridge -4
    noah -3
    melo -3
    kobe -2
    bosh -2
    parker -1
    kyrie -1
    lebron +0
    durant +0
    cp3 +0
    rose +0
    horford +0
    harden +1
    dwight +1
    love +3
    s curry +4
    duncan +4
    wall +5
    gasol +7
    wade +7
    griffin +8

    pretty close, clearly i like the Pacers more than most, and think Wade is garbage and Blake is over rated, as is wall. surpirsed about dwill and LMA but whatever, their teams got better so many thats why.

    • Realist

      Good call on Kobe. People are losing their minds over it, makes me happy.

      • poot

        assuming every player returned 100%, i’d probably put kobe in my top 10. but he’s going to miss games, and probably won’t be 100% right out of the gate. still think he’s going to have a better season than wade. if wade is in the top 15… i will explode

    • AMF1322

      Damn, Griffin it’s so overrated. David West kicked his ass when Indy beat the Clippers in LA last season! I think his just stupid, low IQ player with great athletisism. I would take DeAndre Jordan over him.

      Apart from that, I think Gasol it’s still a little bit higher than Roy, mostly because the pick’n'roll deffense.

      And, finally, this all NBA rank it’s just stupid. How can you define that CP3 it’s better than Dwiaght? They should do it for position or section, like Point Guards, Swingmen, Fowards and Bigs. At least, that would be fair. But mixing all the positions? It doesn’t sounds pretty serious.

      • poot

        Per ESPN:
        “Blake Griffin and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are the only players in NBA history to average at least 18 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists per game while shooting at least 50% in each of their first 3 seasons.”

        i like blake’s game, but i think guys like Noah or Hibbert just bring more to the table. maybe i overvalue blake too, because he has such a magnetic personality

        unlike lebron, who i suppose you could say has a magnetic personality, if you are talking about the side of the magnet that repels. he really needs to learn to keep his mouth shut, because everything that comes out is garbage. the latest:

        lebron chimes in on the 2012 Celtics dissing Ray Allen for leaving them by saying ‘oh now they are leaving, exact same thing, those hypocrites.’
        except that Pierce, KG, Rondo and Doc were still there. they wanted Ray back. they offered him twice the $ that Miami did. they offered him a no-trade clause, unheard of for a bench player. and Ray, in lebron’s words: SHIT on boston. he left them just as their window was closing.
        PP and KG are now past their primes. Rondo is hurt and Doc is with the Clippers. there is no window anymore for these guys. it’s not like just one of them left, they all are done. not the same thing at all. i bet he wouldnt be saying anything if they came to Miami….

        stupid lebron…

  • Realist

    Manila was pretty crap. Most expensive preseason game in history, I’d imagine. My seats were roughly 200 USD, that got me in the front row of the upper level. Lower level was in the 1000′s from memory. This is why the lower level may have looked pretty empty on TV if they showed the crowd at all.

    Anyway, a few notes/beefs thus far…

    As the Bulls play-by-play guy mentioned last night

    [ and before I even get going, how bad was this clown last night? Was it just me, or did he keep calling "West" when it was PG with the ball. wtf. And don't get me started on Stacey King. He wasn't that painful last night, but usually he is a joke. Anybody else read 'The Jordan Rules'? Stacey King is a turd. Mike Ditka would've thrown his locker out into the street, he said. rofl ]

    Anyway, as the Bulls clown mentioned, we have a god awful preseason schedule. Our last 4 games are away, and this after a Home-2xGameAsiaTrip-Home start. So we’re really playing 2 home and 6 away (including 2 mega-away). I’m surprised Frank’s been playing the starters even this much.

    I don’t even care if we go 0-8 in the preseason. Once we beat lowly Orlando on opening night, the 0-8 is irrelevant. Agreed?

    Paul George is clearly our best player. More clear now than ever before. This time last year and early in the season, it was murky. West was the consistent money-man, Roy was slumping / injured wrist, and PG was still leaving us confused (pretty much until after the 0/7 fg GSW game). But now, he is clearly the leader, the go-to guy and our best player. If anybody buys into that “even the most well balanced team needs _that guy_ ” idea, then you don’t have to worry any more.

    What did Orlando Johnson ever do to Frank Vogel?? #FreePulp was a thing last year. Surely OJ is not behind Solo on the depth chart, at 2 especially, where they’ve both been playing. This latest Bulls game was the first where OJ logged more mins than Solo. Anyways, more OJ please. It’s good for you.

    From ESPN Rumor Central today:
    ***
    Danny Granger has regained his starting position after missing all but five games last season due to a knee issue and that is his preferred role.

    “I’ve always started, so obviously I’m more comfortable doing that,” Granger told NBA.com Friday night. “And Lance Stephenson, he’s more of a playmaker. So when he’s in the second group, I think he actually excels more. He has the ball in his hands, he can make plays. When he’s with the starting group, the ball’s going into the post or Paul George has it. I play off the ball a lot.”
    ***

    And about a month ago:
    ***
    Lance Stephenson had his most productive year with the Indiana Pacers in 2012-13 as he started at shooting guard with Danny Granger out for most of the season recovering from knee surgery. Granger should be healthy heading into training camp, which means head coach Frank Vogel may opt to move Stephenson back to the bench as the sixth-man. Stephenson says that’s fine with him.

    “I’m good no matter what happens,” Stephenson tells the New York Post. “If he starts or I start, whatever helps the team win, that’s what I’m down with.”

    ***

    Hmmm, have to say I like Lance’s attitude a bit more, and it looks like Frank is leaning towards Danny starting. Granger didn’t look like he was moving very well in Manila, but his shooting has improved throughout the preseason. Obviously PG will always defend the more athletic/dangerous wing, and hopefully we can hide Danny on Mike Dunleavy types (ala last game) if we have to.

    Granger 4/7 fg (3/3 3fg) in 16 mins starting @CHI.
    Lance 11-7-8 in 34 mins off bench @CHI.
    Interesting. No Jimmy Butler though.

    Lebron is a joke. Yes yes, you are trying to look like a good teammate, but you have the charisma of a damp rag and tact is a foreign concept to you. The situations are nothing alike.

    D-Rose is a moron. Pacers not a rival? You are only rivals with the Heat? Righto.

    “I’ll never forget how they celebrated just from winning this game. I can’t wait to play them again” D Rose on IND winning @CHI, Jan 25 2012.

    NBA RANK!
    Top 3 will clearly be as poot has below, the rest could come out in any old fashion. Westbrook is interesting, seeing how injured Kobe took a massive hit but injured Russ stays top 10.

    I agree Gasol is a bit too high.

    Love seeing PG ahead of Melo. I predicted PG somehting like 16-18, so I’ll take 13. If these were trade value rankings ala Bill Simmons, I think 4th is about right though, poot. Larry would have to trade PG for Lebron or Durant if offered, CP3 probably (but even then I dunno for sure). Harden/Rose/Howard/Kyrie you’d probably entertain the idea but say no. Correct me if I’m wrong there.

    Anyway, I like you’re ranking him that high. :)

    Feel free to win a preseason game, Pacers, but I’m not too fussed either way.

    • Realist

      That Scola/Copes/Solo/Lance/CJ lineup looked really good @CLE. Maybe we’re not going to sign a third string center? (Armstrong won’t make the team will he?)

      OJ DNP though, sigh.
      Granger sits. He’s just day to day right?

      • poot

        thanks for the first hand look, awesome stuff. i downloaded the games and agree with all your points.

        the bulls announcers were really bad, as usual. i liked the Pacers trying to win that game, but it was ugly. that derrick rose banked in 3 was a sign of how the night was going. I think it was Stacy King who said “he called that, you could tell he wanted to go glass.” Really?

        all of the preseason games, one thing that’s annoying, so many fouls. it seems like every quarter its like “pacers into the penalty with 10 minutes left in the period.” the other team would get in foul trouble too, but it was ugly.

        the run we made on the cavs was nice. it wasnt really fair because we were playing our rotation guys and they were playing guys that might not make their team. but still, good to get a W and the feeling of domination.

        i too am surprised by the lack of OJ and the abundance of Solo. Solo had a nice drive in CLE, first time he really looked useful as a Pacer. but i think he’s mainly playing for 2 reasons: 1- can’t play OJ at the SF next to Lance/CJ. 2- trying to groom Solo as a future Granger replacement.

        Danny hurt his calf in the Mavs game. to me it looked like something i’ve done a bunch of times and you just tweak it a little, but the muscle stings and spasms for a while. likely because he had to overexert it to compensate for not putting as much pressure on his knee… for me i have to overexert otherwise i have no vertical! it’s good that he’s going easy on the knee, and the rest should do him good. he looked great in that Bulls game, my favorite play being when he hit that transition 3. reminded me of Reggie a lot there.

  • poot

    PRESEASON REVIEWs:

    through SEVEN games… (2-5)

    (per game stats adjusted to per36 stats)

    Paul George is looking grrreat. 23ppg, 6rpg, 3apg, and 1spg. His shooting looks better, as evidenced by his 49% rate including 41% from deep. NICE! that was his biggest weakness going into the season, and he has really delivered on improving. Even his 79% free throw shooting is pretty good. But he has a pretty bad +/- rating. Why? Could be his team worst turnover rate of 4tpg. That’s a weakness he still needs to work on. And he averages over 5 fouls per 36.

    Hibbert is shooting a pitiful 35%. Still, he is putting up 14ppg, 8rpg, 1spg and 3blg. He’s cut down on his fouls, only 4 per36. The defense is there. He’s also putting up a decent 73% at the free throw line. Asides from the shooting, 3 turnovers per36 and 0 assists (total) are a concern. Clearly he is struggling on offense, as his +/- is the worst on the team.

    DWest is a HUGE rock. 21ppg, 5rpg, 3apg, 2spg, 1bpg. All around awesomeness. He is shooting very well (51%) but needs to work on the free throws (69%.) No flaws to the man’s game, obviously he has a pretty good +/-.

    George Hill is also stuffing the stat sheet with 12ppg, 5rpg, 5apg, 1spg and 1bpg. Though only shooting 38%, he is making an incredible 55% from deep and 94% from the line. The 5 assists to only 2 turnovers is very encouraging, but his +/- is second worst on the team.

    Granger’s shooting is improving slowly. Once a dead-eye, now shooting only 32%. However a great 47% from deep and 80% from the line are very encouraging signs. He stuffs the stat sheet: 14ppg, 5rpg, 3apg, 1spg and 1bpg continue to inspire confide though his +/- is third worst on the team. Keeping his fouls down and the 3:1 ast:to ratio means his game is there, and the shooting should catch up. Already looking better than most expected.

    Lance is finally starting to come alive and has now made a 3 (14%.) His 53% shooting is good, but 58% from the line is not. His 11ppg, 6rpg, 5apg and 1spg is great for a sixth man type. He doesn’t get blocks, oh well. Has improved ball control a bit (2tpg.) But his +/- is fifth worst on the team, not a great sign.

    Scola is starting to put it together, especially on offense. He puts up 21ppg, 6rpg, 2apg, 1spg and 1bpg. Very good. He is shooting a solid 49% but only 69% from the stripe. He’s also averaging over 5 fouls per36 and still commits many turnovers (3tpg.) Despite this he has a decent +/- on the team. I can only expect his efficiency will improve as chemistry improves.

    Orlando Johnson puts up 16ppg, and adds 8rpg – most on the team among non-centers. He is shooting an very nice 53% including 43% from 3pt range. He leads the team with a great +/-. Looking like a nice off-the-bench shooter. Needs to work on free throws (54%) and is yet to show up outside of scoring and rebounding: 0spg, 0bpg and only a 1:3 assist:turnover ratio.

    Copeland has been a surprisingly poor shooter. Putting up 15ppg on 28% shooting is bad. His specialty, 3 point shooting, has not been there (24%) and neither have his free throws (63%.) He is adding 4rpg and 2apg to only 2 turnovers, but not doing much else, especially on D. His +/- is pretty good, though.

    Mahinmi seems to be finding his groove. 8rpg, 1spg, 1bpg is good and he’s scoring 8ppg on decent 44% shooting (but 44% from the line.) His ast:to ratio of 0:3 is bad. Not doing much on offense, but the defense has been there. A decent sub for Hibbert, he has a better +/, but it’s still pretty poor.

    Watson has been a sweet upgrade to DJ. Chipping in 14ppg, 4rpg, 3apg, 1spg, 1bpg on 50% shooting including 45% from 3 and 88% on free throws. Great shooting and all around play, a great addition to the team. The only problem is he is turning it over 3 times per36, but everyone on the Pacers is turning it over a lot. He still has a pretty good +/-.

    Solo Hill is scoring worst on the team with 5ppg on 23% shooting, including 20% from deep and 75% from the line. Though he pitches in a team worst 3rpg, he he adds a team high 2spg, and a solid 3:2 ast:to ratio. Somehow, it works, as he has the fourth best +/- on the team.

    Sloan gets to the line, good for a guy who shoots 33% from the field but 86% from the stripe. He is making 50% of his 3s which is nice. His 11ppg, 5rpg and a team high 6apg, are a nice addition. His 9:2 assist:turnover ratio is easily best on the team. Despite his poor shooting, his good playmaking is helping the team, as he has the team’s third best +/-.

    Hilton Armstrong is an enigma. Will he make the cut? Notably, he has a team high 11rpg (and adds 2apg, 1spg and 1bpg.) He’s putting up 8ppg, but it’s all from the free throw line (75%) since he hasn’t made a field goal yet (0%.) Somehow he has the team’s second best +/-. Right now it looks like a 30-40% chance he makes the team.

    • AMF1322

      It’s just me, or this team is shooting AWFUL from free throw line?

      • poot

        it’s not just you. when i think Pacers, i think back to the 90s, back when end of game situation, we had our best lineup on the floor, and you couldnt foul us or it was automatic. reggie. mjax. smits. best. mullin. davis never touched the ball on offense, so he wasnt a liability.

        now we are shooting as a team 70.7% from the line!

        put it this way, adding guys like Tony Allen or bringing back Tyler would improve our team’s FT%… yikes.

        i believe it is the ONLY (well DRose’s bank shot was pretty cheap…) reason we lost to the Bulls in a game we were trying to win.

        look at it like this. 3:05 left. tie score. Boozer is called for a T after wildly punching air fouling a foul on Lance.

        Hill misses 1 FT
        Lance misses 2 FT
        -bulls score 2pts
        West makes 1 FT, misses 1 FT
        -bulls score 2pts
        West misses 2 FT
        -bulls score 2 pts
        Pacers down 5 with 34 seconds to go

        now instead of going 1/7 from the line, imagine making 70% (which is not good) but still means going 5/7

        Hill makes 1 FT
        Lance makes 2 FT
        -bulls score 2pts
        West makes 1 FT, misses 1 FT
        -bulls score 2pts
        West makes 1 FT, misses 1 FT
        -bulls score 2 pts
        Pacers down 1 with 34 seconds to go

        i know the game is played differently depending on score/time, but just shooting decent from the line would have given the Pacers a chance. Bulls fans are thinking their team is awesome and unbeatable. ok yeah if the other team is shooting 14% from the line and you’re banking in 3s, ok.
        can’t wait to start this season! just when it comes to free throws, keep the ball in the hands of
        Hill (94%)
        Watson/Sloan (86%)
        Danny (80%) or PG (79%)

  • Realist

    NBA Rank, top 100 sorted by position (position decided by me, not as listed by NBA Rank)

    PG
    Chris Paul
    Russell Westbrook
    Stephen Curry
    Kyrie Irving
    Derrick Rose
    Tony Parker
    Deron Williams
    John Wall
    Rajon Rondo
    Damian Lillard
    Mike Conley
    Ty Lawson
    Jrue Holiday
    Ricky Rubio
    Eric Bledsoe
    Brandon Jennings
    Jeff Teague
    Kyle Lowry
    Kemba Walker
    George Hill
    Steve Nash

    SG
    James Harden
    Dwyane Wade
    Kobe Bryant
    Joe Johnson
    Klay Thompson
    Jimmy Butler
    Tony Allen
    Eric Gordon
    Bradley Beal
    Tyreke Evans
    Kevin Martin
    Monta Ellis
    Manu Ginobili
    O.J. Mayo
    J.J. Redick
    J.R. Smith
    Ray Allen
    Jamal Crawford

    SF
    Lebron James
    Kevin Durant
    Paul George
    Carmelo Anthony
    Andre Iguodala
    Kawhi Leonard
    Josh Smith
    Luol Deng
    Paul Pierce
    Rudy Gay
    Ryan Anderson
    Nicolas Batum
    Chandler Parsons
    Danny Granger
    Danilo Gallinari
    Harrison Barnes
    Thaddeus Young
    Gordon Hayward
    Erhan Ilyasova

    PF
    Kevin Love
    Blake Griffin
    LaMarcus Aldridge
    Dirk Nowitzki
    Pau Gasol
    Anthony Davis
    Zach Randolph
    Serge Ibaka
    DeMarcus Cousins
    Kevin Garnett
    Greg Monroe
    David West
    Kenneth Faried
    Paul Millsap
    David Lee
    Carlos Boozer
    Derrick Favors
    Jeff Green
    Tristan Thompson

    C
    Dwight Howard
    Marc Gasol
    Tim Duncan
    Al Horford
    Roy Hibbert
    Joakim Noah
    Chris Bosh
    Brook Lopez
    Tyson Chandler
    Larry Sanders
    Al Jefferson
    Nikola Pekovic
    Andre Drummond
    Anderson Varejao
    Omer Asik
    Andrew Bogut
    Nene
    DeAndre Jordan
    Jonas Valanciunas
    Marcin Gortat
    Nikola Vucevic
    JaVale McGee
    Andrew Bynum

    • Realist

      for the Pacers:

      I think George Hill is a bit low. I’d probably have him ahead of the 5 above him (Walker, Lowry, Teague, Jennings, Bledsoe), close to Rubio but below Holiday.

      No SG obv, Lance still rising

      SF, PG ahead of Melo. Wuahahah eat that, everyone. Granger is a bit of a wildcard. I’m a little surprised they had him this high to be honest. Let’s hope he delivers and then some.

      PF, West about right, but on preseason form you could make a case for him ahead the 6 above him and probably up to Pau? Who knows. KG is on the downslide obviously, as is Z-Bo. West will probably be underrated in perpetuity.

      C, Roy above Noah, you beauty, and rightfully above Bosh. Zach Lowe picked Roy for DPOY. Bring it on.

      • poot

        PG rankings:

        top 7 agree. cp3, westbrook*, curry, kyrie, rose*, parker, dwill
        even with injuries, still top tier

        next 7 eh. not sold on these guys as being better than Hill. wall, rondo*, lillard, conley, lawson, holiday, rubio. all have nice parts to their games, but i think all-around do not differentiate themselves. would swapping any of these guys in for Hill last year have ensured a trip to the Finals? full strength Rondo maybe, the rest i think not.

        then the rest above him, bledsoe, jennings, teague, lowry, walker, i think at their best can play as good or better than GHill, but are too inconsistant, too many lows. Hill might not dominate a game, but he won’t ruin it for you.

        so i would put him in that 8-14 range myself.

        SG rankings are dumb.

        any ranking where Wade is #2 is a joke. i mean the list is awful, but Lance should be WAY ahead of those guys. PG would be a 1 or 2 on the list, but Lance should at worst be next to Jimmy Butler.

        Harden, ok #1 sure.

        Klay, Gordon, Beal.. Tony Allen for his D. I could put those guys with Butler and Lance in a tier. the rest, whether injury like Kobe, years of overratedness like JJohnson and Monta, or pure suck like Wade, belong below them.

        So if PG isn’t on the list, Lance should be 2-7

        SF rankings

        top is fairly ranked.

        then putting Pierce, Gay, Anderson, Parsons ahead of DG? come on. Pierce is way too overrated. Gay is a joke on defense, and his offense is blackhole-esque. Anderson is a nice 3 point and OReb specialist, but Granger is an AllStar. Parsons still needs to prove a lot, a lot.

        but i also think so guys, like Hayward, are underrated

        so PG is fine at 3. DG should be 9-11

        PF rankings are a butt

        love and aldridge, can’t argue with that

        Dirk i love, but come on, it’s not 1999-2010 anymore. Same goes for Pau. Won’t even mention KG, who is only on the list because he has the same name as a star player from 5-10 years ago.

        Davis still has a ton to prove. would putting him on the Pacers instead of DWest have guaranteed a trip to the Finals last season? nope. it might have meant a first round loss.
        same for Cousins and Monroe, who have proven even less.

        so DWest, to me, easily, should be 3-7

        C ranking

        putting DH at #1 is fine

        Gasol, Horford, Hibbert, Noah, imo, all same level. any given game, one can change it.

        Duncan is great, but he will play so few minutes next season, can you really call that value?

        so Hibbert’s ranking is fine, somewhere between 2-5

        .

        OVERALL rankings

        PG- Hill 8-14 UNDERRATED
        SG- PG 1-2 or Lance 2-7 UNDERRATED
        SF- PG 3 and DG 9-11 UNDERRATED
        PF- DWest 3-7 UNDERRATED
        C- Hibbert 2-5 Properly rated

        ultimate under-the-radar team. let’s get it.

  • Realist

    poot, you seen the latest Dolittle piece? Shakin’. My. Head.

    • poot

      yeah. unlike Lowe, who’s writing is good but he takes the safe way out and picks the frontrunner every time,
      Doolittle is just garbage. he’s like “i created a system which i use to rank teams…. but don’t just assume the rankings are all based on my opinions, i also averaged them with the SCHONE projections. not familiar with SCHONE? it basically projects how a player will play next year based on his height and weight. it also treats every moment of a players career equally, so if a young player improved during the season, he has just as good a chance of regressing to how he was as an inexperienced player as he does of expanding upon that improvement.”

      all of it was horrible but one of his worst arguments: wade will be better next season. better than what? better shooter than Sam Young? better at being a whining narcissist than lebron? better dressed than lady gaga?

      doolittle did however pick Paul George to win DPOY

  • Realist

    Pacers look good. 3 straight wins on the road by 20, not against world beaters, but still middle of the pack type teams (CLE, ATL, DAL). Granted we have actually been trying pretty hard (more than most anyway), but 20 point road wins are nothing to sneeze at.

    Nice to see Roy finally have a decent game. 14-8-3, 4-8 fg, 6-6 FT in 24 mins. That’s want we want from you, big man. Nothing amazing, just solid and efficient.

    Paul George had the “I’m clearly the best player on the court” swagger @DAL. Fair enough too.

    • poot

      so let’s hit up the preseason reviews from poot:
      This time i will break down each player by postives/negatives about their games (rank on team /13 players)

      Paul George
      + 24 pt/36 (1st)
      + 1.7 stl/36 (1st)
      + 51% FG% (3rd)
      + 81% FT% (4th)
      + 3.6 ast/36 (4th)
      + positive +/- rating (7th)
      () 39% 3P% (6th)
      () +3 in +/- rating (7th)
      - 6.3 reb/36 (7th)
      - 0.4 blk/36 (9th)
      - 3.8 to/36 (14th)
      Analysis: Shooting has improved significantly. Turnovers are an issue.

      .

      Roy Hibbert
      + 3.0 blk/36 (1st)
      + 8.4 reb/36 (2nd)
      + 0.9 stl/36 (7th)
      () 14.6 pt/36 (7th)
      () 79% FT% (7th)
      - 2.6 to/36 (7th)
      - 37% FG% (10th)
      - negative +/- rating (12th)
      - 0.6 ast/36 (14th)
      Analysis: Still a defensive force. Offense is sub-par, hurting the team a little. At least he’s not fouling too much.

      .

      David West
      + 1.5 stl/36 (2nd)
      + 1.3 blk/36 (2nd)
      + 49% FG% (6th)
      () 19.4 pt/26 (3rd)
      () 2.8 ast/36 (8th)
      () positive +/- rating (8th)
      - 2.6 to/36 (6th)
      - 71% FT% (9th)
      - 4.9 reb/36 (10th)
      Analysis: Awesome stats, what a beast. Could rebound a little more.

      .

      Danny Granger
      + 47% 3P% (3rd)
      + 1.3 stl/36 (5th)
      + 0.6 blk/36 (6th)
      + 80% FT% (6th)
      () 1.0 to/36 (1st)
      () 2.9 ast/36 (7th)
      - 5.2 reb/36 (8th)
      - 32% FG% (11th)
      - negative +/- rating (14th)
      Analysis: Great 3P shooting, good utility player. Fewest turnovers on the team, but worst +/- shows his fit hasn’t been effective yet.

      .

      George Hill
      + 94% FT% (1st)
      + 50% 3P% (1st)
      + 4.5 ast/36 (2nd)
      + 0.6 blk/36 (7th)
      + 0.8 stl/36 (8th)
      () 1.6 to/36 (4th)
      - 39% FG% (9th)
      - 12.9 pt/36 (9th)
      - 4.9 reb/36 (9th)
      - negative +/- rating (13th)
      Analysis: Sweet shooting with good point guard skills. Hard to believe his +/- is so bad, he’s looked great.

      .

      Lance Stephenson
      + 4.3 ast/36 (3rd)
      + 50% FG% (4th)
      + 0.7 stl/36 (9th)
      () 6.7 reb/36 (4th)
      () negative +/- rating (10th)
      - 2.2 to/36 (5th)
      - 20% 3P% (8th)
      - 58% FT% (11th)
      - 10.1 pt/36 (11th)
      - 0.0 blk/36 (11th)
      Analysis: Playmaking has been there. Shooting has not (except layups.) Poor impact on court, but most time has been in Granger’s absence. Should see improvement as leader of bench.

      .

      Luis Scola
      + 52% FG% (2nd)
      + 20.4 pt/36 (2nd)
      + 1.1 blk/36 (4th)
      + postive +/- rating (5th)
      + 0.8 stl/36 (8th)
      () 6.6 reb/36 (5th)
      - 68% FT% (9th)
      - 2.1 ast/36 (10th)
      - 2.9 to/36 (11th)
      - 5.6 foul/36 (14th)
      Analysis: Scola is a star player in this league. Being traded for garbage lowered his “street” value, but he still is very efficient at scoring and plays solid defense. He’s gotta watch his turnovers, but is still playing great.

      .

      CJ Watson
      + positive +/- rating (3rd)
      + 88% FT% (3rd)
      + 42% 3P% (5th)
      + 46% FG% (6th)
      + 1.1 stl/36 (6th)
      () 14.8 pt/36 (4th)
      () 3.4 ast/36 (5th)
      - 0.5 blk/36 (7th)
      - 4.3 reb/36 (13th)
      - 3.2 to/36 (13th)
      Analysis: Wow, what a shooter. Does a nice job running the offense. Not expected to block or rebound, but should try to limit turnovers.

      .

      Chris Copeland
      + positive +/- rating (9th)
      () 14.6 pt/36 (5th)
      - 22% 3P% (8th)
      - 2.2 ast/36 (9th)
      - 0.3 blk/36 (9th)
      - 62% FT% (10th)
      - 2.8 to/36 (10th)
      - 4.3 reb/36 (11th)
      - 0.3 stl/36 (12th)
      - 27% FG% (12th)
      Analysis: Who is this guy? We brought him on for shooting? But he’s the worst shooter on the team. Hopefully Cope got the bad shots out of his system in preseason. He doesn’t bring anything to the table, so if he’s not hitting 3s, he will be riding a lot of pine.

      .

      Ian Mahinmi
      + 8.7 reb/36 (1st)
      + 1.2 blk/36 (3rd)
      + 0.6 stl/36 (10th)
      () 40% FG% (7th)
      () positive +/- rating (8th)
      - 2.4 to/36 (8th)
      - 7.5 pt/36 (12th)
      - 0.3 ast/36 (13th)
      - 50% FT% (13th)
      Analysis: Ian boards and blocks and is efficient enough on offense. Even though his offense sucks. He still is a good backup big. What else do you need?

      .

      Solo Hill
      + positive +/- rating (4th)
      + 1.5 stl/36 (3rd)
      () 1.5 to/36 (3rd)
      () 75% FT% (7th)
      () 2.7 ast/36 (8th)
      - 18% 3P% (9th)
      - 0.3 blk/36 (10th)
      - 3.8 reb/36 (13th)
      - 4.4 pt/26 (13th)
      - 20% FG% (13th)
      Analysis: Solo somehow has a good +/-. It’s odd because the once-labeled “jack of all trades” seems to be good at nothing. Except Steals. He plays timid and will not be a part of the Pacers rotation unless a shocking improvement occurs. D-League candidate.

      .

      Orlando Johnson
      + incredible +/- rating (1st)
      + 52% FG% (1st)
      + 44% 3p% (4th)
      () 7.2 reb/36 (3rd)
      - 2.5 to/36 (7th)
      - 14.0 pt/36 (8th)
      - 1.3 ast/36 (11th)
      - 0.4 stl/36 (11th)
      - 0.0 blk/36 (12th)
      - 54% FT% (12th)
      Analysis: SCORlando Johnson. sweet shooting, but not doing much else. Bad free throw shooting. Could be a good role player in shooting lineups.

      .

      Donald Sloan
      + 6.0 ast/36 (1st)
      + 50% 3P% (1st)
      + 90% FT% (2nd)
      + positive +/- rating (2nd)
      () 1.3 to/36 (2nd)
      - 12.0 pt/36 (10th)
      - 4.7 reb/36 (10th)
      - 31% FG% (11th)
      - 0.0 blk/36 (11th)
      - 0.0 stl/36 (13th)
      Analysis: Good point guard. Lots of assists, few turnovers, great outside shooting, draws fouls, great on court impact. But doesn’t do much else, not a good scorer. Hard to see him getting playing time barring injuries to Hill, CJ and Lance.

      .

      .

      OVERALL:
      6 players hit shots above 45%
      6 players hit 3′s above 39%
      5 players hit FTs above 80%

      11 players average 10+ points per36
      7 players average 5+ boards per36
      5 players average 3+ assists per36
      5 players average 1+ steal per36
      4 players average 1+ block per36
      12 players average 1+ turnover per36

      8 players have a positive +/- rating

      scoring-wise, this puts the Pacers on par with the 7-sec-or-less Suns teams, and, ironically, the 2000 Finals Pacers squad.
      stats-wise, again, 7-sec-or-less Suns teams. Only 6 teams in the past 20 years put out a product like that, all Suns (and the 2008 warriors and nuggets)
      yes, it was preseason. but it just shows the POTENTIAL the team has. not only a defensive, rebounding force like last season, but also a deadly efficient offense. Can’t wait for the Pacers to put it all together…

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