You read that correctly. Sure offense is what gets you the highlight reels on Sportscenter and all those accolades of being immortalized in posters. But this Indiana Pacers team has really amped it up on the defensive side as evidence of landing two players in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season. Roy Hibbert and Paul George both earned some votes, and deservedly so. Consider that Paul George takes on the task of defending the best player on the floor, and he’s shown that he can hold his own. I would give even more credit to Roy Hibbert as he’s that last line of defense in the paint. You get a couple of blocks out of Hibbert, and guys won’t be so quick to go down the lane. Take in the hard nosed play of David West down there, you have a defensive trifecta.
That’s why this season, I would look for the Pacers to even work harder on the defensive end to build up their offensive firepower. Play solid defense, get the defensive rebound, and run out for a quick basket is how I would love for the Pacers to play this season. I think at any of the positions, the Pacers have guys that can hold their own on the defensive side with the small weakness being that point guard position.
I am not faulting George Hill or C.J. Watson or any of the other point guards that have come through the Pacers’ organization, but that has always seemed to be the weak spot. A guy like Deron Williams of the Brooklyn Nets, who is tough anyways, usually does whatever he wants against the Pacers. I can still recall two seasons ago, when Kyrie Irving was doing what he wanted to. Chris Paul is a terror for any team, and the Pacers seemed to have some trouble with him when he came to play against them. That’s where the most improvement is needed or the other guys have to be ready to help out.
I look for the Pacers to really keep the scoring down if they want to play “Pacers’ ball”, games in the 90s or lower would be that perfect game for the Pacers to handle. I do believe that there will be a few nights when the Pacers can get out and score, but on the whole, defensive presence is where this team will hang it’s hat. Now whether that can still win championships will remain to be seen, but I believe that teams have shown that does work. Even a team like the Miami Heat have Lebron James, who definitely can play defense when he has to. Look at the Chicago Bulls back in the day, Michael Jordan was always up there for his defense. The Bad Boys of Detroit had their defensive ways when they were winning titles. So while, it is all about the offense, there are those times you just need a stop to win the game. If the Pacers can string that more often, plenty of wins should happen.