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Pacemaker
10-21-2008, 02:36 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dime-IndianaPreview0809

Only 2 out of 10 experts gives us a chance of making the playoffs. Go figure !
They came up with and average standing which put us in the 11.9 position in the East. I'm pretty darn sure that we'll end up better than in the 12 position.

The article has 10 very interesting reading steps ending with a poll. It think is a good read.

Infinite MAN_force
10-21-2008, 03:04 PM
They keep mentioning that no player averaged more than 20 points, than mention that the only other team like that is the blazers... like being compared to the blazers is a knock. Hell, we had two players that were over 19, but for some reason 20 is a big deal.

I hate how stein refers to the "huge" upgrade of other teams and ignoring the dismal situation at PG last year, which has been VASTLY improved. I don't think most of these guys pay any attention at all to the pacers.

MrSparko
10-21-2008, 03:15 PM
You're setting yourself up man-force...

OakMoses
10-21-2008, 03:15 PM
It may be the homer in me coming out, but reading this made me a bit upset.

I love the guys who take potshots at Bird and talk about how he traded O'Neal for a bag of spare parts. Also blasting him for the handling of the Tinsley situation.

For the last couple years since I started following the Pacers very closely via PD and League Pass, I've noticed that the national media really doesn't know what's going on in the lower profile franchises in the league.

ChicagoJ
10-21-2008, 06:14 PM
They are basing this (I think correctly) on an unispiring cast of veterans.

If this team is better than #12 in the EC, its because Rush and Hibbert are paying immediate dividends.

idioteque
10-21-2008, 06:56 PM
12th in the East? :confused:

Call me a homer but I think we're better than New Jersey, New York, Milwaukee, Atlanta, and Charlotte right off the bat. Either those teams don't have a lot of talent or they have talented players but not enough veterans to make anything work.

And I see us competing up there with the mid to upper teams in the East like Toronto, Washington Philadelphia, Chicago, Miami, and Orlando. We're only vastly outclassed by Boston and Detroit and MAYBE the Cleveland LeBrons, but I think we have a good chance at beating any other team in the East on any given night.

People will be surprised by the Pacers. We didn't really lose anyone of any huge value to this team in the offseason and we gained a lot of assets. No one but hardcore Pacer fans realize this. JO wasn't a huge asset in the offeason, so ANYTHING we could get in exchange for him was good, and when you look at it that way IMHO we got a lot for JO and we will be better this year.

Best scenerio: 4th playoff spot in the East
Worst scenerio: 8th playoff spot in the East

I just can't see this team not making the playoffs in the East.

Anthem
10-21-2008, 07:36 PM
Best scenerio: 4th playoff spot in the East
Wow.

I'll take the under on that.

Mourning
10-21-2008, 07:38 PM
12th in the East? :confused:

Best scenerio: 4th playoff spot in the East
Worst scenerio: 8th playoff spot in the East

I just can't see this team not making the playoffs in the East.

Oh, I can see our team not making the playoffs this coming year, but 12th is pretty harsh I would say. I think more along the lines of this:

Best scenario: 6th playoff spot in the east
Worst scenaro: 11th spot in the east

I think we will probably be fighting and maybe just or just not making that 8th playoff spot.

We'll see.

I think JO is a certain loss on the defensive end. Sure, Hibbert is nice, but he's also a rookie and he's bound to get a lot of foul calls called against him. And a lot of unreasonable ones too. Then there's the rookiewall. The chance that he might not see that much time at all actually if JOB decides to go mainly with the veterans. So, interior defence I think will be an issue this year, though I don't think the dropoff is anywhere near the dropoff the ESPN cast seems to put on it.

Regards,

Mourning :cool:

idioteque
10-21-2008, 07:57 PM
Wow.

I'll take the under on that.

I think that Detroit, Boston, and Cleveland will have better records than us, no question about it.

But other than that I see the East as being wide open.

Toronto does not impress me. Washington has too many injuries and I've read now that Arenas may never come back full strength. Philadelphia has added Elton Brand but I still see their second best player, Iggy, as a glorified Tim Thomas even though both Miller and Dalembert are solid. Chicago has no chemistry. Miami is still one year away at least from doing anything serious and Orlando may have been a flash in the pan last season.

Chances are at least one or two of these teams will have better records than us in the regular season, but there is a slight chance the Pacers could win 40 something games and beat these teams out for the 4th spot. But more realistically I see us as a 5 to 7 seed.

To me, the Pacers will definately improve this year because we've only amassed more talent and there is no way you can argue the team is worse than they were last year.

New Jersey, New York, Milwaukee, Atlanta, and Charlotte are all basketcases in one way or another and shouldn't be huge factors this year.

Naptown_Seth
10-21-2008, 10:39 PM
They are basing this (I think correctly) on an unispiring cast of veterans.

If this team is better than #12 in the EC, its because Rush and Hibbert are paying immediate dividends.
I agree.

The direction is nice but I don't see how anyone can think they've even come close to reaching the destination. They have real issues at the bigs with Foster as a role player and Hibbert too far off at this point. Rasho has no defense and neither does Troy.

My recommendation is to do what I did last year, keep track of the top 15 prospects and make a point to watch them a few times this year and just enjoy the Pacers as entertainment. It could be an ugly 30 wins but it'll feature the development of some nice young players and a shot to draft yet another. Pray for Blake Griffin as the PF solution high draft pick and put him with Rush, Danny and Hibbert and you have a super strong developing core.

Major Cold
10-21-2008, 11:10 PM
So Hibbert is our 7'2" 278 pounds reserve forward?

This goes to show that when it comes to the NBA ESPN does not know a thing.

We will finish tied for 9th in record and 10th through tie breakers.

rexnom
10-21-2008, 11:46 PM
Love it! My favorite is the deep "I don't know how the **** Obie got 36 wins out of these bozos last year when I picked them to be last. Oh well. Now that they have improved their roster, I'm going to go ahead and make the same prediction."

I'm cool with that. Low expectations FTW.

Roaming Gnome
10-22-2008, 12:43 AM
Love it! My favorite is the deep "I don't know how the **** Obie got 36 wins out of these bozos last year when I picked them to be last. Oh well. Now that they have improved their roster, I'm going to go ahead and make the same prediction."

I'm cool with that. Low expectations FTW.

My thoughts, exactly :D

xtacy
10-22-2008, 09:50 AM
Best scenerio: 4th playoff spot in the East


thats a lot of optimism there. here is what i think

Best: 6th
Worst: 9th

i don't think we will finish lower than that. btw i'm cool by the low expectations and being underestimated too. having low expectations and doing better is def better than having high expectations but not achieving anything.

rexnom
10-22-2008, 09:59 AM
Honestly, I think we'll have the same situation as the last couple of years. I just think that so many teams give up in March/April that we'll be able to catch up as long as we stay in the 8-10 range all year.

BobbyMac
10-22-2008, 10:08 AM
We had 36 wins last year w/o JO and Tinsley most of the year. We have upgraded the PG and have 2 more bigs that will play significant minutes.

Best 4th
Worst 9th...

Take it to the bank! :)

Major Cold
10-22-2008, 10:59 AM
There is only one way this team finishes top 8. Defense.

Raskolnikov
10-22-2008, 11:08 AM
We had 36 wins last year w/o JO and Tinsley most of the year. We have upgraded the PG and have 2 more bigs that will play significant minutes.

Best 4th
Worst 9th...

Take it to the bank! :)
I actually think it's as simple as that (barring major injuries). The JO trade was really huge. And I think the Bayless for Rush + Jack trade will prove to have been great too.

I'm saying 6th in the east.

idioteque
10-22-2008, 11:59 AM
We had 36 wins last year w/o JO and Tinsley most of the year. We have upgraded the PG and have 2 more bigs that will play significant minutes.

Best 4th
Worst 9th...

Take it to the bank! :)

My thoughts exactly. Really you broke down what I was trying to say in a couple of sentences.

Jonathan
10-22-2008, 12:22 PM
I am predicting the Pacers to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. I feel we can upset the Celtics/Cavs or Detroit. If the officials do not make it an 8-5 series.
I see Danny Granger coming into his allstar form and with Rasho & Roy as legit Centers we can play with any team in the Eastern Conference. T J Ford is a top 4 Eastern Conference PG (Right Now)

Anthem
10-22-2008, 01:41 PM
I am predicting the Pacers to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
This is going to be a very disappointing year for you. Who will you blame when it doesn't work out that way?

BillS
10-22-2008, 02:33 PM
This is going to be a very disappointing year for you. Who will you blame when it doesn't work out that way?

JO, of course.

lafayettepacer
10-22-2008, 03:00 PM
Love it! My favorite is the deep "I don't know how the **** Obie got 36 wins out of these bozos last year when I picked them to be last. Oh well. Now that they have improved their roster, I'm going to go ahead and make the same prediction."

I'm cool with that. Low expectations FTW.

What about the part where he says that Shawne Williams is going to shoot the three well this year? Maybe it was posted before the trade.... Not very up-to-date.

Jonathan
10-22-2008, 03:11 PM
This is going to be a very disappointing year for you. Who will you blame when it doesn't work out that way?

I believe in this team. I love how we are stressing defense and brought in the players to do that ie Hibbert, Rush, & Jack. Several teams will be tanking to get more lottery balls & our bench will provide us with the depth.

Dece
10-22-2008, 07:35 PM
It will be hard for this team to make the playoffs.

It would be a miracle for them to get out of the first round.

There is no force great enough to cause the Pacers to win the ECF.

McKeyFan
10-22-2008, 08:01 PM
It will be hard for this team to make the playoffs.

It would be a miracle for them to get out of the first round.

There is no force great enough to cause the Pacers to win the ECF.

What about the force inspiring some of the world's greatest literature of late?

http://www.pacersdigest.com/apache2-default/showthread.php?t=41810



:D

Jonathan
10-22-2008, 09:08 PM
It will be hard for this team to make the playoffs.

It would be a miracle for them to get out of the first round.

There is no force great enough to cause the Pacers to win the ECF.

You are free to express your opinion. It is a fan forum but I love the Pacers. I am rooting for them to go to the Eastern Conference Finals. Ignite the Passion. Restore the Pride. I believe.

Anthem
10-22-2008, 10:55 PM
You are free to express your opinion. It is a fan forum but I love the Pacers. I am rooting for them to go to the Eastern Conference Finals. Ignite the Passion. Restore the Pride. I believe.
I'm not questioning your belief... believe what you want. But when your beliefs don't line up with reality, what will you do?

McKeyFan
10-22-2008, 11:52 PM
I'm not questioning your belief... believe what you want. But when your beliefs don't line up with reality, what will you do?

Root for the Devil-Rays.

rexnom
10-23-2008, 12:29 AM
You are free to express your opinion. It is a fan forum but I love the Pacers. I am rooting for them to go to the Eastern Conference Finals. Ignite the Passion. Restore the Pride. I believe.
Good for you, man. I don't agree with your position, exactly, but I'm glad to see unabashed optimism.

docpaul
10-23-2008, 08:22 PM
We had 36 wins last year w/o JO and Tinsley most of the year. We have upgraded the PG and have 2 more bigs that will play significant minutes.

Best 4th
Worst 9th...

Take it to the bank! :)

Others would agree with you on this one as well:

http://dberri.wordpress.com/2008/10/22/predicting-the-pacers/

I follow this blog pretty often, and was pleased to see them talking about my team:


A few days ago Henry Abbott - of TrueHoop - stated the following in a story about the Josh Childress experience in European basketball (http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-35-74/Josh-Childress-on-Life-in-Greece.html):
If it really is true ó that little things that win games are more valued in Europe ó then that confirms just about every negative stereotype of American basketball development. And it fits perfectly with the message from just about every new-breed statistical expert: That scoring is overvalued here, at the expense of other things that are hugely important but less obvious.

Pacer Pessimism
If you can imagine, these words were floating about ESPN.com. And with these words in the air, Chris Broussard decides that the Indiana Pacers are the worst team in the Eastern Conference this year. Okay, I am not sure Abbott posted his comment before Broussard offered his thoughts on the Pacers. Still, letís imagine that despite Abbottís argument (and this is something he said before), Broussard still picked Indiana to finish 15<sup>th</sup> out of fifteen teams in the East.

And how is this pick defended? Here is what Broussard said in ESPNís preview of the Indiana Pacers (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dime-IndianaPreview0809):

Jim OíBrien is a good coach, but he needs more to work with. Not one Pacer has ever averaged 20 points a game. The only other team in the league you can say that about is Portland.

This statement suggests that the lack of a major scorer in Indiana - in Broussardís view - dooms the Pacers.

To be fair, Broussard is not the only one down on Indiana. The following writers - listed with their ranking and comments - picked Indiana to finish in the bottom three in the East:

Chris Sheridan (ranked14<sup>th</sup>): Hard to decide which of Larry Birdís decisions was worse: Trading Jermaine OíNeal for a bag of spare parts or benching Jamaal Tinsley at the start of camp rather than allowing him to display whatever value he has to potential suitors.

Ric Bucher (ranked 14<sup>th</sup>): Dear Larry: Loved you as a player. Liked you as a coach. As a GM Ö Did I mention I loved you as a player?

Marc Stein (ranked 13<sup>th</sup>): Donít know how Jim OíBrien got 36 wins out of the Pacers last season. And donít think heíll be able to get that many out of them this season, with almost all of the Eastís non-playoff teams making upgrades.

Jon Barry (ranked 13<sup>th</sup>): Thereís been a serious change of culture in Indy, helped further with T.J. Ford now at the point. But the bottom line is thereís still not enough here for this team to get in the playoffs.

Jalen Rose (ranked 13<sup>th</sup>): This team is in total rebuild mode in terms of roster, image and fan base. T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack will push the tempo to go with the scoring of Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy. One key question: Can they trade Jamaal Tinsley?

Although every other writer participating in ESPNís preview ranked Indiana higher, the average ranking of all the writers (http://espn.go.com/nba/081022ECONFSTAND.html) only placed two teams in the East below the Pacers (the Nets and Knicks were ranked lower). In sum, a number of writers are clearly pessimistic about the Pacers. And I find this to be more than just a bit odd.

Where Indiana Has Been and Where They Are Going
To see why this odd, letís go back a few months. The Pacers finished the 2007-08 season with the following marks:

Wins: 36
Offensive Efficiency: 103.45 points per 100 possessions
Defensive Efficiency: 104.84 points per 100 possessions
Efficiency Differential: -1.40
Summation of Wins Produced: 37.2

In terms of wins, the Pacers ranked 9<sup>th</sup> in the East and missed the playoffs. Efficiency differential, though, ranked Indiana 8<sup>th</sup>. In other words, if we repeated the 2007-08 season, we would expect Indiana to make the post-season.

Of course, we are not repeating the 2007-08 season. Indiana has made changes to their roster and these differences should impact what the Pacers will ultimately achieve in 2008-09.

Before reviewing the changes, letís just make it clear - contrary to Marc Steinís contention - the 36 wins the team achieved last year can be connected back to the players on this team.


Table One: The Pacers in 2007-08 (http://www.wagesofwins.com/Indiana0708.html)


As Table One reports, about 35 of this teamís Wins Produced can be linked back to the play of Jeff Foster, Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, and Danny Granger. And all of these players will be returning in 2008-09.

The following players - who played at least 500 minutes last season ó will not be joining this quartet (with Wins Produced and WP48 - Wins Produced per 48 minutes - reported):

Kareem Rush: 0.0 Wins Produced, -0.001 WP48
Ronald Murray: -0.1 Wins Produced, -0.005 WP48
Jermaine OíNeal: -0.4 Wins Produced, -0.017 WP48
Shawne Williams: -1.4 Wins Produced, -0.070 WP48
David Harrison: -2.8 Wins Produced, -0.189 WP48

In addition, Indiana appears to want Jamaal Tinsley (2.2 Wins Produced and 0.083 WP48) to play someplace else this next season.

When we look at these six players, we see four who offered production in the negative range. And the other two were below average (average WP48 is 0.100). In sum, none of the departing players were really helping the Pacers last year. In fact, Indiana is better off with some of these players in a different uniform.

Okay, enough of the subtractions. Here are the veteran players - who played at last 500 minutes last seasonĖ the Pacers are adding:

Jarrett Jack: 4.6 Wins Produced, 0.098 WP48
T.J. Ford: 4.0 Wins Produced, 0.160 WP48
Rasho Nesterovic: 3.2 Wins Produced, 0.104 WP48

As one can see, the three main veteran additions to this team are each average or above average.

In addition to the new veterans, Indiana also selected Roy Hibbert and Brandon Rush in the draft (two players who were about average ó for an NBA draft pick ó in college last season (http://www.wagesofwins.com/WinScore2008Draft.html)). Although Hibbert and Rush will probably not help much, they probably wonít hurt much either. At least, itís not expected that the rookieís production of wins will drift into the negative range.

Heeding Hollinger

When we compare what the Pacers have added to what the team lost, itís hard to see how this team dropped towards the bottom of the conference. Yet several of the experts at ESPN reached this conclusion.
One should note that not all the ESPN experts reached this conclusion. John Hollingerís forecast differed from his fellow writers at ESPN. Hollinger thinks the Pacers are the 7<sup>th</sup> best team in the Eastern Conference. In sum, he thinks Indiana has gotten relatively better.

In the past I have noted that Hollinger and I agree that teams should be evaluated in terms of efficiency differential (where we disagree is on how to move from the team to the player). Although I donít know this for sure, I think Hollinger begins the process of forecasting the next season by considering where a team finished the previous campaign. So when Hollinger creates the forecast of the Pacers, he starts with a team that is just a bit below average. And since he concludes the team is better, he must think - as I conclude - that the additions Indiana has made trump the subtractions (not sure how PERs gets Hollinger to that conclusion, but I think I have accurately captured his approach).

Apparently, though, the other writers at ESPN are not listening to Hollinger or paying much attention to what we saw in 2007-08. These writers see a roster in Indiana that is devoid of anybody who averaged 20 points per game last season and conclude that without a major scorer, the Pacers cannot compete in the resurgent Eastern Conference.

Projecting the Pacers

Again I return to the words of Abbott noted at the onset of this column. Scoring is simply over-emphasized by many NBA analysts. When we look at all the stats - whether we use the Wages of Wins measures, the work of Dean Oliver, of the adjusted plus-minus approach of Wayne Winston (http://dberri.wordpress.com/2007/12/18/different-answers-same-conclusions) - we see that there is more to wins than points scored per game. And I think all the stats tell us the Pacers are going to get better.

How much better? Well, I still think the East will be led by Boston, Detroit, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Cleveland. After these five, I think Toronto and Indiana have the best chance at the post-season. In sum, I think Indiana has a good chance of seeing playoff basketball next April. At least I think the chances of that outcome exceed the probability the Pacers will finish - as Broussard contends - as the worst team in the Eastern Conference.
A ton of really good nuggets in this piece... among them:

* Foster is the player that most contributes to team "wins" according to his metric
* The whole comparison of Childress' experience to the nonsense of Broussard and a majority of the ESPN analyst crew
* Some statistics to show that Shawne Williams was actually a drag on the team last year