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Frank Slade
09-28-2006, 07:22 PM
What’s Needed For Pacers To Become Contenders?


Thursday, Sept. 28, 2006

QUESTION OF THE DAY
Conrad Brunner

Q. The Pacers are a much different team and now, with the addition of Al Harrington, it looks like they are again one of the best in the East.

What is it going to take for them to get beyond being simply a playoff team? Do they have what they need to win it all? I think Jermaine (O'Neal) is going to have to play at an MVP caliber. (From Steve in Bakersfield, Calif.)


A. A lot of things are going to have to go right for the Pacers to reach championship level – which to me means inclusion in the group of three-to-five teams with a legitimate shot at the ring – this season.

I'm not sure if a team with more new faces than returnees has ever reached the NBA Finals in its transition season. And if the Pacers keep 15 players, there's every chance at least eight of them will be newcomers. That said, the changes were made with banners in mind, so let's address the primary circumstances that would need to converge for the Pacers to return to the level of the elite.

The most obvious would be health. The team simply cannot afford to lose Jermaine O'Neal or Jamaal Tinsley for prolonged stretches, and it's not only because of the level of talent that would be missing. Without either of those two, the other players have to make major adjustments to both their roles and the style of play. Both players are vital to the cause, albeit in different ways, and both need to return to peak form.

Another major element will be the development of team chemistry. When so many new personalities merge, it's inevitable patience will be necessary while they learn about each other as people and teammates.

As roles and rotations develop, some players will have to willingly accept less playing time than they hoped for, and team leadership from players like O'Neal, Harrington and Darrell Armstrong will be crucial. This should ultimately develop into a strength because the players, as a group, seem more single-minded in their approach to this season, but it will take some time.

Surviving the first half of the season with the won-lost record, not to mention confidence, intact also will be crucial.Thirteen of the first 19 games, and 23 of 39, are on the road. Under normal circumstances, that type of schedule would present a major challenge. For a team loaded with new players learning a new style of offense, it is a potentially decisive element to the season. If the team can emerge from that stretch around .500, healthy and heading in the right direction in terms of chemistry and system, the Pacers would be in position for a very strong finish. And that would bode very well for the postseason.

There are other areas that may need to be addressed, like 3-point shooting and rebounding, but at the moment those are potential trouble spots, not certainties. It's clear there are many variables that will have a significant impact on the season.

Considering the last two years have been ruled by the Peter Principle, however, it's about time the basketball fates conspired on the Pacers' behalf.

Pacers.com (http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/question_060928.html)

JayRedd
09-28-2006, 09:23 PM
Surviving the first half of the season with the won-lost record, not to mention confidence, intact also will be crucial.

Thirteen of the first 19 games, and 23 of 39, are on the road. Under normal circumstances, that type of schedule would present a major challenge. For a team loaded with new players learning a new style of offense, it is a potentially decisive element to the season. If the team can emerge from that stretch around .500, healthy and heading in the right direction in terms of chemistry and system, the Pacers would be in position for a very strong finish. And that would bode very well for the postseason.



This early season schedule is brutal...It looks okay starting off, given the quality of the opponents right out the gate, but that home/away/home/away transition can be pretty disruptive.

I fear how bad this start to the season might be if we can't get at least get 3-4 wins in the first six games. Because after that, four of the next six are Chi, NJ, Mil & Cle leading into a six-game West Coast road trip. Just unbelievable.

Hate to say it, but I'll be shocked if we come back home .500.

The one positive about having so many roadies I suppose is that it will give these guys plenty of time to get to know each other and hang out and play cards and eat dinners and all that traveling stuff. Let's hope this is a good thing anyway, and that they don't come back on Dec 5th hating each other.

Pretty crappy.

Nov 1 at Charlotte
Nov 3 vs New Orl/OKC
Nov 4 at New York
Nov 7 vs Philadelphia
Nov 8 at Washington
Nov 10 vs Orlando
Nov 11 at Chicago
Nov 15 at Boston
Nov 17 vs New Jersey
Nov 21 vs Milwaukee
Nov 22 at Orlando
Nov 24 vs Cleveland
Nov 26 at Toronto
Nov 28 at Portland
Nov 29 at Golden State


Dec 1 at Seattle
Dec 2 at Denver
Dec 4 at LA Lakers
Dec 6 vs Orlando
Dec 8 vs Portland
Dec 9 at Cleveland
Dec 11 at Chicago
Dec 13 vs Detroit
Dec 15 vs New York
Dec 17 vs Utah
Dec 20 at Philadelphia
Dec 22 at Atlanta
Dec 23 vs Minnesota
Dec 26 vs Houston
Dec 29 at Detroit
Dec 30 vs Charlotte

Miller4ever
09-29-2006, 01:49 PM
wtf look at that schedule.. the nba is an anti-pacer~ lol

imawhat
09-29-2006, 01:54 PM
Well, that's sort of encouraging. Lots of games on the road are against opponents that weren't so great last season.