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NapTonius Monk
12-31-2009, 10:33 AM
http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=14831

Grading the First 30: Pacers
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By: Joel Brigham (jbrigham@hoopsworld.com)

Only four teams in the entire league are worse off record-wise than the Indiana Pacers, who at 9-22 are seated third from last place in the Eastern Conference. Danny Granger's untimely dose of plantar fasciitis hasn't helped Indy's cause, but even with their All-Star this is a pretty young and generally disappointing bunch. Like all teams, though, there are bright spots worth looking at, and only just over a third of the way through the season we're going to take a look at those. We do, unfortunately, have to look at where things have gone wrong, too. And we will, so read on…

Best Offensive Weapon – Danny Granger. When he's healthy, Granger is far and away the best scorer this team's got. That fact becomes even more painfully obvious when he's not on the floor because the team struggles to get things going. Literally nobody else on this roster is capable of scoring 30 on any given night, and even to expect 25 out of Mike Dunleavy, Brandon Rush, or Troy Murphy is a stretch. Even Granger's 24.4ppg in the 17 games he's played is down a bit from last year's scoring average (25.8ppg), but for better or worse this is a team that moves the ball around a lot. The team's top scorer could be more selfish he wanted to, but so far he hasn't shown that particular tendancy.

Best Defensive Weapon – Danny Granger. One of only a handful of guys in the league to be averaging at least one steal and one block per game, Granger is the most versatile defender on the Pacers' roster. However, second-year center Roy Hibbert has shown improvement this year, blocking 1.6 shots per game. That puts him among the top 20 shot blockers in the league and he's only playing 22.7 minutes a night. So while Granger's out, Hibbert's the man—and both are only going to get better.

Biggest Surprise – Dahntay Jones. After signing a 4-year, $11 million contract, there were a lot of people saying that Jones wouldn't be worth the money, but so far he's having the best year of his career by a lot. He's more than doubled his scoring averages from 5.4ppg to 12.2 ppg since first making a name for himself as a starter in Denver last season, showing that he absolutely can start and play big minutes for a team that needs him throughout the game, not just in spurts like he was used with the Nuggets. To pay only $2.75 million a year for that kind of output is looking like quite a value.

Biggest Disappointment – Brandon Rush. Like a lot of other pundits, we at HOOPSWORLD really thought this would be a great year for Rush to break out. The opportunity was there (he's started 21 games), and there's certainly no shortage of shots for him to take. But with only 7.4 points per contest and a dismal 37.8% field goal percentage, his minutes are starting to drop. Having scored in double figures only four times in the month of December, Rush hasn't played 30 or more minutes in two weeks. Neither of those stats inspire much hope for Rush's season moving forward.

Areas to Address Before the Deadline – Get Granger Healthy & Look for Takers on Big Salaries. Neither one of those two things is going to be easy. Plantar fasciitis is a foot injury that really can't have anything done for it other than to rest it. Granger can roll his sole of his foot over a tennis ball or ice it, but the only permanent fix is just to rest it. Considering the fact that this team has zero chance of making the postseason right now, they have no reason to hurry him back. When I say "Get Granger Healthy," I'm not talking about getting him healthy quickly so he can compete this season. I'm talking about getting him 100%, however long that takes. If they lose a ton of games waiting, the worst that can happen is more ping-pong balls for John Wall.

The other area to explore is moving some of the big, nasty contracts they've got on the books for 2010-2011. Between Troy Murphy, T.J. Ford, Jeff Foster, and Mike Dunleavy, the Pacers owe $37.7 million next season. That doesn't even include all the rookie deals or Danny Granger's $11 million. They'd like to clear some of that up as soon as possible, but in a year where everyone's trying to clear cap space, not take it on, they're probably not going to have much luck with Foster, Ford, or Dunleavy. It is possible somebody could bite on Murphy, who's on a two-year rebounding binge despite playing outside so often. He's their best bet for clearing space, otherwise they'll just have to wait until next year when all of those guys become expiring contracts.

Overall Grade: D. The Pacers just aren't going to get much done without Granger in the lineup, and the two-year outlook isn't particularly good for this team unless they land a great draft pick in June. There's no real identity for this group right now; it's a combination of promising youth and ineffective veterans, and in some people's opinion the veterans are getting too many minutes at the expensive of those young'ns. As the season wears on they'll get more opportunities to play, but in the meantime they're going to keep trying to win (especially with Jim O'Brien fighting for his job, no matter what Larry Bird says), and they're probably not going to have much success at it.

mildlysane
12-31-2009, 11:10 AM
Somebody's grading on the curve, I see. A "D" is a lot higher than what I would have given them.

Speed
12-31-2009, 11:36 AM
There's no real identity for this group right now; it's a combination of promising youth and ineffective veterans, and in some people's opinion the veterans are getting too many minutes at the expensive of those young'ns.


Yep.

Infinite MAN_force
12-31-2009, 12:08 PM
There's no real identity for this group right now; it's a combination of promising youth and ineffective veterans, and in some people's opinion the veterans are getting too many minutes at the expensive of those young'ns.

Sounds like someone has been reading this forum.

Unclebuck
12-31-2009, 12:24 PM
Overal Pacers play I would give them an F

Pacers 5-game winning streak deserves an A++

Speed
12-31-2009, 01:00 PM
Overal Pacers play I would give them an F

Pacers 5-game winning streak deserves an A++

Nicely done!!

90'sNBARocked
12-31-2009, 02:15 PM
Nicely done!!

if you gave a separate grade, one for the coaching staff and one for the players, what would it be?

90'sNBARocked
12-31-2009, 02:17 PM
Nicely done!!

The funny *** is this "5 game winning streak" is probably the most talked about and glorified "5 game winning streak" in the history of the Pacers!

You would have thought this was the greatest accomplishment in NBA history!1

Oh the 5 game winning streak talk continues lol

Squirrelz
12-31-2009, 04:01 PM
Somebody's grading on the curve, I see. A "D" is a lot higher than what I would have given them.
Not sure what you can really out of this lineup with an injured Danny Granger for 14 games, Brandon Rush who is utter trash, a coach who doesn't know how to play around his best healthy player in Hibbert, and absolutely no PG to speak of. TJ Ford does more to hurt the team than help it right now.

You have Luther Head, Solomon Jones, and Dahntay Jones playing as the number one or two guys out there some nights, and Tyler Hansbrough really took 20 shots the other night.

This team doesn't have much. I think we're lucky to have the 9 wins as is.

I give them a D also.

Naptown_Seth
12-31-2009, 04:23 PM
Roy Hibbert is our best defender? The guy may have read here about vets vs youth (thought that's true for the fanbase of any losing team), but that defensive statement says 100% "I don't watch the Pacers".

I mean Granger is actually borderline to a liability and a lot of us have noticed it. He's solid as a help defender, thus the HR plays for blocks or steals, but he needs DJones and Rush with him if you want really solid overall defense.

I don't think Roy's been a better defender than Tyler, McBob or Solo. All 3 are able to bang more effectively before being called for a foul, and McBob and Solo are obviously better shot blockers.


My grade is an F as well, though a C for the kids since they do look somewhat on track for their development.

PaceBalls
12-31-2009, 06:29 PM
The funny *** is this "5 game winning streak" is probably the most talked about and glorified "5 game winning streak" in the history of the Pacers!

You would have thought this was the greatest accomplishment in NBA history!1

Oh the 5 game winning streak talk continues lol

It will never die! and I was lmao at UB's post. He is creating his own monster :)

But really what else in this season has been worth cheering about? That was the only time where I had any hope for this team.

jeffg-body
01-02-2010, 12:53 AM
My grading of the first 30 games is a little jaded. I know we have been bad for the most part, but counting the injuries I have grown soft and brought the grade to a D+.

PaceBalls
01-02-2010, 03:57 AM
not including the 5 game win streak. F-

If, however, they are trying to get Wall, Favors or another top 3 pick, they get B

special ed
01-02-2010, 05:41 PM
Far too confusing for me. Doesn't the record reflect whatever the grade should be? Now we are going back to school to define a win-loss record?
And to say that Hibbert is our best defender while not even "grading" the coaching, I just have to shake my head. :confused:
9-22 is enough for me to know there's no grade needed.