Pretty Much Screwed: Our Preview Of The 2012-13 Indiana Pacers
Welcome to “Pretty Much Screwed,” our 2012-13 guide to the upcoming NBA season, in which we identify the reasons why your favorite team might have to start looking forward to 2013-2014 -- and highlight at least one reason for you to be hopeful. Today: the Indiana Pacers.
In theory, the Indiana Pacers and their fans have lots to be happy about. They have one of the best young centers in the league in Roy Hibbert, a rising star in Paul George, a well-rounded roster, a good coach, great fans, they pushed the eventual-champion Miami Heat to six games in the playoffs (in a series they should have won after going up 2-1, but I digress).
They even added a little more scoring on the wing in Gerald Green and a very good backup for Hibbert in Ian Mahinmi, which should solve all the problems they had last year as a result of playing Jeff Foster way too many minutes. These are all good things.
What's more, the Orlando Magic
traded were held hostage and forced to give up Dwight Howard and the Chicago Bulls will be without Derrick Rose for most of the season. Indiana just vaulted into the top 3 in the East with Miami and Boston.
With so many things going the Pacers' way, what could possibly hold them back? What could possibly go wrong?
The 2012-13 Pacers are pretty much screwed because the leader of the team is still Danny Granger.
Don't get me wrong; Danny Granger is a decent player. Okay scorer, solid defender, decent leader. But no team is winning a championship with that kind of player as their best player. Not with a small forward who barely shoots 40% in the regular season and under 40% in the playoffs. Not with a small forward barely averaging five rebounds per game, in the prime of his career, on a team with no dominant rebounder. Even Luol Deng averages over six rebounds per game on a team with Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, and Taj Gibson. Carmelo Anthony averaged over six rebounds last year and he was fighting off Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudemire, laziness, and butthurtness over Linsanity.
At this point, the Pacers are better off forcing Granger into a similar role Andre Iguodala had with the Sixers last year, that being one of lock-down defender and facilitator who does basically everything but shoot. Because Granger cannot shoot. At all.
One reason you might not be screwed: The Pacers still have the aforementioned Roy Hibbert, not to mention David West. Most teams in the NBA have barely one dependable low-post threat. The Pacers have two. And as they demonstrated in their series against Miami last year, when they get these two going on offense and defense, they're pretty tough to beat. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the ball always seems to eventually go away from Hibbert and West and into the waiting hands of Granger, and then eventually into the waiting backboard/back rim. If Indiana can finally go away from their Granger-centric offense and take advantage of their huge advantage on the block, they may be good enough to get by the smaller Heat and recently-Darkoed Celtics.
Actual season prediction: Even if the Pacers don't put Danny Granger in his place, they'll be a tough team this year. Probably third seed in the East, probably a minimum second round appearance in the playoffs. The difference between settling there and getting further does hinge on forcing Granger to take a backseat to the team's big men. Sadly, I don't see Danny giving up the reigns. And that leaves the Pacers with a 55-win season, and a second round exit. Sorry, Pacers fans.
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.