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View Full Version : My East predictions and probably a minority view: The Pacers will miss the playoffs this season



DonSwanson
12-20-2011, 12:06 PM
This is my first time starting a thread on Pacers Digest. And I’m guessing the vast majority of you will disagree with my prediction: :D

I predict the Pacers will finish 9th in the East, in the 29-32 win range.
I think we are probably at least another year away from witnessing a true "breakout" season (top 5 in the Conference).

(dodges tomatoes thrown on-stage)

A couple of things before I get more into it. First, this is my HONEST take on where I think we stand in the East. It’s not pessimism, and it’s not meant to rub people the wrong way who complain about “Debbie downers.” The aim here is not to upset the Era of Good Feelings, but at the very least to encourage people to not take lightly or dismiss our competition. For example, I have read some forecasts by fans that don’t even mention the Bucks and I don’t agree with that at all. So I’ve offered a few brief write-ups on some of these other teams also in the running for a playoff spot (Philly, Milwaukee, Detroit, New Jersey) to remind people that they won’t be pushovers. Also understand—I hope most of you are right that this team is poised for a breakout year!! I want that to be true—I’m just not there yet, having a hard time seeing it. So if you are so inclined, help the doubters like myself to see it. Tell me what you think I am missing.

I approach this with the assumption that a majority of you hold a similar expectation as Bob Kravitz: "The Pacers should not only make the playoffs this season, but should grab no lower than a fifth seed and even make a run at home court in the first round. They're not going to challenge Miami, Boston and probably Chicago in the Eastern Conference, but they can duke it out with Orlando, Atlanta, the Knicks and Philly." I think this is a stretch---While there may be enough talent here to make another run at the 7 or 8 seed, it is far more likely we finish 9th-11th than 4th-6th. I would be ecstatic with top 5, but putting my analyst hat back on I just don’t think this is realistic.

So here is how I see the East shaping out:

THE WEALTHY

Miami
Chicago
Boston

THE MIDDLE CLASS

Orlando--As long as they still have Dwight Howard (or two time championship frontline of Bynum and Gasol) coupled with solid backcourt offensively of Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson, then it remains a long-shot for Indiana to supplant them.

New York--Landry Fields and Tyson Chandler will be great complements to Melo and Amare

Atlanta--teague,johnson,williams,jay smoove, horford, veteran bench--hinrich, t-mac, zaza
If jay smooove is motivated (appears he is with the weight loss) and horford is horford, then they will again be a mid-tier playoff team that continues to give us problems.

VYING FOR RESPECT (AND FINAL 2 PLAYOFF SPOTS)
(I view it as a 5 team race for these final 2 spots: Ultimately injuries will probably play a major role as they have the past few years. Injuries ruined our chances in 2008-09 and 2009-10, while Milwaukee’s injuries, Jerebko out, and our good injury fortune allowed us to sneak in last year.)

Philadelphia-- Early on last season many of you were disappointed with our 9-7 record, but I felt at the time that we were overachieving to be above .500, and I expressed my view that 3-13 Philadelphia had more talented players than we did. This was met with criticism, but sure enough, Philadelphia went 38-28 the rest of the way and finished with a better record than us. They return 4 solidly productive players—jrue, thad, iguodala, brand (still a superior low post threat compared to any Pacer player); plus consistent contributors lou will, meeks and evan turner. Others tout our supposedly superior depth as a major reason why we will outperform a team like Philadelphia, but they return 6 double-digit scorers from a year ago, and it's likely that Evan Turner makes it 7 this year. Spencer Hawes hasn't shown much, but this was still a top 8 defensive team last year. Philadelphia (and Milwaukee up next) have proven that they are superior defensive teams. And they were just as competitive in their Miami series as we were with Chicago. Barring major injuries (they were 5-10 last year without Iguodala), they will again be a playoff team.

Milwaukee--It seems that many people have forgotten that they won 46 games in 2009-10 and took Atlanta to 7 games without Bogut, which for me is more impressive than anything we accomplished those final 3 months of last season when we went 20-18 with the league’s 5th easiest schedule during that stretch. Also, look at their injuries from top to bottom last year and tell me you're not impressed that they still won 35 games and were once again a top 5 defense. But now, Bogut is healthy, Mbah a Moute is re-signed and Scott Skiles is still the coach, so it's almost a lock that they will continue to be one of the league's top defenses. Dunleavy/Jackson will likely improve the offense as well, and Jennings' shooting percentage has nowhere to go but up. If Bogut stays healthy, pencil them in as an 8 seed.

Indiana--Most other fans have done a good job of highlighting the positives with this team, such as the good young core and the benefit of experiencing the playoffs last season. Indeed, there's enough talent here to compete for a playoff spot, but we will probably need to be a top 10 defensive team and catch up with the likes of Philadelphia and Milwaukee to make this a reality. Will a rookie head coach be able to inspire the sustained focus/grinding/attention to detail required to become an elite defensive team? It's not that players don't want to play hard for a coach, but I think it will be especially difficult for a young team to keep it going for a full season. Also, I think Paul George is another year or two away from having the type of "breakout" season that some fans are hoping for/counting on (i.e., consistent 2nd or 3rd scoring option) in order for us as a team to take the next big step. West is a nice player, and I actually view his age as somewhat of a positive because a young team can always benefit from more veterans. I don’t think he hurts us, and if I were GM I would have probably signed him had Nene turned down my max offer (if we had signed Nene, Indiana would definitely be in my top 8 and perhaps cracking top 6). But right now I don’t anticipate him being the kind of difference maker that some here are expecting. I think it is unfair to West to expect him to come in right away off the injury and be a consistent contributor. Can we be a top 5 defensive team with Collison and West playing 30 minutes a night? Jeff Bower couldn’t make it out of the bottom 5 with this duo in New Orleans. I’ll say it again—if we finish top 6 in the East with a top defense, Frank Vogel deserves coach of the year. George Hill was a nice pickup, but I think losing Rush/Dunleavy will hurt more than people might think. So yes, I suspect I'm not as high on the potential impact of some of these offseason roster moves as most people are.

And I’m sorry, but I don’t see us going anywhere as long as we continue to build around Granger and Hibbert. Putting my GM hat back on--In the next 3-4 years, which center/small forward duo do you see as having the most potential: Nene/Paul George or Hibbert/Granger? I go with the former—Nene is a two-way player with his league best field goal % and good low-post defense. So I would have thrown max or near max money at him. His anchoring of Denver’s 18-7 finish to last season was not a fluke imo, and I think you win in this league with efficient players, not centers who shoot 46%. So I love the Denver small-market, “moneyball” model with no stars but outstanding efficiency from their top 3 of Nene, Lawson and Afflalo. And while Paul George may not breakout this year, I do agree with the future rosy assessments that he will be an all-star. He has the makings of a solid two-way player (no way I'd trade him for Eric Gordon). So I would have used this time to try and trade Granger/Hibbert while there is still considerable value to be mined in return. I realize almost no one agrees with this approach right now, but I’m wondering if we do miss the playoffs again whether people will be more open to trading our leading scorer……. But maybe we can revisit that topic in July. There will be no Granger/Hibbert bashing from me until then as I root for them the next 4 (but hopefully 6!) months, only praise or silence.

Detroit--I've seen others on this site completely dismiss their chances, but I think Detroit has enough talent to realistically make a run at 7 or 8. Let's start at center, which is a strength for them... Last year the average NBA center shot 51%--Nene led the league at 61%, and Detroit's rookie Greg Monroe shot 55% (his last 3 months were all at or above 57%). Our center shot 46%, and was below 50% for each of the season's 6 months. Our success this season depends in large part on whether Roy Hibbert can provide the efficiency of an average NBA center. In his 4th season, will he for the first time be average, or better yet, accomplish comparable shooting and rebounding efficiencies as rookie Greg Monroe? If the answer is again "no", then we will probably stay below .500. Many people like to compare Hibbert favorably with Rik Smits-- but Smits exceeded 51% in 6 of his first 8 seasons while Hibbert is now 0 for 3. Now is the time for Hibbert to prove he can sustain that kind of production for a full season. Some people have (unfairly) placed a future top 5 center expectation on him, but can he even be considered top 3 in his own division when he is compared against the overall impact of Bogut, Noah and Monroe? I love how Hibbert has worked hard to go from a rookie project (7.7 fouls per 36 minutes) to starter, but rookie Monroe was already the more reliably efficient player last season, and will likely be so this season as well. If Hibbert can’t reach 51%, I’d settle for a drop in the turnovers.

Also remember--one of Detroit's most productive players in 2009-10 was rookie Jonas Jerebko (he trailed only Ben Wallace in the "Wins Produced" metric that season). He started most of their games at forward and was an efficient two-way player. He missed all of last season, but now he's back healthy. And will losing Rip Hamilton prove to be addition by subtraction? I think so, in terms of both chemistry AND on the court since it likely frees up more minutes for Ben Gordon. But what I consider most important--new coach Lawrence Frank and his extra emphasis on Defense.... Last season Detroit was a more efficient offensive team than Indiana, but they finished bottom 3 defensively. If Detroit can improve from bottom 3 to average or even mediocre, then they should improve upon last season's 30-52 and be in the running for a playoff spot. Monroe (an efficient 15 and 10 guy this season? Definitely doable since he was 12 and 10 per 36 last year), healthy Jerebko, Prince, Gordon, Stuckey, Wallace, Knight, Daye, maybe Villanueva can occasionally catch fire off the bench--That's not a bad team if they can move away from last year's discord (dominated by Rip, Tmac and other veterans vs Coach Kuester). Ultimately I think they finish 10th or 11th right behind Indiana as there will probably be a period of adjustment with the new coach, but I wouldn't sleep on them at all. I’m also looking forward to watching those two early games we have with them (my guess is we split them).

New Jersey—Their overall roster is subpar, but when you have arguably the best or second best point guard in the conference your team automatically has a realistic shot at the playoffs, because everyone's production will be raised. Losing out on Nene really hurt them and helped us big time (I would have considered the Nets a playoff lock with D-Will and Nene). They need to either re-sign Humphries or add another productive player like Kirilenko. If Avery gets them to defend, Lopez rebounds, and D-will stars, then they'll be in the hunt as well.

THE WORKING POOR—I would be very surprised if one of these last four made it in. Would love to know if anyone sees it differently though—Washington intrigues me with Wall/McGee but I think they could benefit from a coaching change…

Washington
Charlotte
Cleveland
Toronto


Oh, one more thing—If we do happen to struggle early on, I hope that a lot of the more optimistic forecasters will not immediately abandon all hope! Remember how Philly turned it around last year after their slow start—So with 15 of our first 22 on the road, I will not be disappointed with a 9-13 start.

So in conclusion, a question--What percent chance do you give us of making the playoffs? I'll say 30%.

Ownagedood
12-20-2011, 12:17 PM
Indiana significantly improved from last year... SIGNIFICANTLY.. Unless a big injury happens there is no way we miss the playoffs.

4-6.... Enough talent to go higher if they put it all together but we are a better playoff team than a season team. Wouldn't be suprised with a 6 seed and upset.

EDIT: Guess ill throw some reasons why out there...

DC will be even better. He has another year of experience, as well as an old running mate he had success with in the past with pick n roll, West. DC had an excellent showing in the playoffs until his ankle injury. :(

PG already showing signs of improvment from what i can tell. Still think hes a year away from really coming out though.

George Hill is an excellent experienced player who has been extremely well coached in his career, great defense and seems to have some clutch in him.

Hibbert should do much better without JOB... Not to mention the rest of the team. ;)

And Hans off the bench will be incredible.

David West is a former All-Star who appears to still be in All-Star form.

CoolHand
12-20-2011, 12:21 PM
In addition to the Significant improvements referred to by the previous poster, we also get to go the entire (shortened) season without JOB.... That is a huge improvement right there.. :happydanc

Lance George
12-20-2011, 12:25 PM
Milwaukee was garbage even while healthy last season. I'm not sure how adding a career 41.8% chucker helps their offense, either. Watching Jackson and Jennings throw up brick after brick is gonna be quite comical.

IndyHoosier
12-20-2011, 12:25 PM
Very well written. I do think we will be a 4-6 seed though it's all dependent on the strides Hibbert makes IMHO.

Day-V
12-20-2011, 12:28 PM
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Gamble1
12-20-2011, 12:29 PM
You should change the thread title to, "Prediciton sure to go wrong".

Ozwalt72
12-20-2011, 12:33 PM
I could see us missing the playoffs.

Despite people thinking we're built great for the lockout shortened season, we have some drawbacks as well.

New coaching staff: Half of it is entirely new, there's going to be an adjustment period.

New pieces: With Hill and West, we potentially have two new starters. With Amundson, Pendergraph and Lance possibly making contributions too, it's going to take some time for everything to shake out.

We're young: Sure, we have fresh legs and all that, but we don't have the experience and savvy, consistency that comes with a veteran team.

If Roy doesn't get better, if Paul George doesn't improve by a fairly good leap, if neither Collison or Hill prove to be a capable point guard....we could be in trouble.

Our perimeter scoring: two of our best perimeter shooters are gone, and we haven't really replaced them. Reminds me of Philly, who struggled without much of a perimeter threat. Though I think Collison steps up.

With all that said...

The top end of this team's the 4 seed. That's why this season is so exciting.

billbradley
12-20-2011, 12:34 PM
DonSwanson, if we didn't add better coaching, athleticism, defense, scoring, length and hustle over the off season you would have a good point.

DrFife
12-20-2011, 01:02 PM
Good post, Don - I don't agree with your conclusion, but as IndyHoosier said, it's well written as well as thought-provoking, so well done.

I think predicting records this year will be especially difficult because of the injury threat due to a compressed schedule. Boston, New York & Miami have little depth, so I predict that one of the "powers" (I say Boston ... and the Lakers too) will suffer a humbling record. By the same token, I'm supporting teams with depth, which only encourages my sunshiner view of the Pacers. If they acquire/sign another decent SG & C, even more so. I'm with you on Philadelphia -- I loved the Vucevic pick and was confident they'd re-sign Thad Young -- and think they'll surprise too. Detroit, less so, and Milwaukee I'm not so high on, but hey, can't wait to find out!

Scot Pollard
12-20-2011, 01:07 PM
I'm sorry, but anyone who says we'll miss the playoffs doesn't know what they're talking about.

Kstat
12-20-2011, 01:10 PM
I'm sorry, but anyone who says we'll miss the playoffs doesn't know what they're talking about.

While I disagree with him as well, this is hardly a compelling argument.

I do agree with him that the Pistons are being underrated by just about everyone. There's a lot more talent on the roster than people realize.

yoadknux
12-20-2011, 01:11 PM
I agree with you that some of the fans here are overly optimistic, but with the addition of West I think we're going to make the playoffs unless we are forced to deal with major injuries.

Personally I agree that Miami, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, New York - are probably better than us.
I think it's hard to determine how well Orlando are going to be this season. There's just too much chaos around Dwight. But overall, if they do not trade Dwight then I predict they are going to make the playoffs.

So we have 6 potential slots taken. 2 spots remain.
Overall, We're going to compete against Philly, Nets, Bucks. Detroit aren't all that great and I don't think they're part of the playoffs race.

Nets- Have a nice starting 5, but no depth. if they trade for Dwight, good for us, Orlando won't make the playoffs and another spot will open. Bottom line, I think they will make the playoffs. They know they have to add pieces around Deron to make the playoffs. They know that if they miss the playoffs again Deron might be too pissed to stay.

Philly- Have nice depth, nice young players, We're around the same level.

Bucks- Could pose a threat if they stay healthy, but we're a better all-around team.

I predict somewhere around 5th-7th seed.

vnzla81
12-20-2011, 01:12 PM
I think we are going finish not higher than 6th and not lower than 10th, good post by the way.

ilive4sports
12-20-2011, 01:16 PM
So despite all the improvements and additions by subtractions, we essentially stand pat? Our young guys wont be improved either? Im sorry, that just wont happen.

Peck
12-20-2011, 01:28 PM
I like the original post.

I don't know that I agree with everything but I sure don't disagree with everything.

I really think though that you might need to look a little deeper at Boston being in the wealthy section as a given. I'm not saying they aren't but I don't know that they haven't stepped back a notch or two.

Ironically last night on NBAtv they were talking about how some of them did not even expect the Hawks to make the playoffs this season. Apperantly there are locker room issues and lack of motivation. I totally disagree with them on this but it will be interesting to see.

The Bucks are really a mystery to me.

Overall though very well written piece and I think a fair assesment, although you think higher of Nene than I do.

BTW, I will be putting up the official prediction thread in the next day or two.

BillS
12-20-2011, 01:34 PM
I think the problem with posts like this, while well reasoned, is they essentially assume every other team will mesh with their new acquisitions while we struggle with ours due to the short season, that other teams will only be affected positively by acquisitions yet to come, and that no matter what the Pacers do, they will be eclipsed by other teams - including those who will simply be healthy (when at the same time the Pacers players being healthy isn't considered an advantage from year to year).

I'd venture to say the analysis essentially expects only the best from every team in the East that has a chance at the mid-range of the playoff seedings. While it insulates the prediction from actual bad things happening to the Pacers, in its way it isn't any more realistic than those who expect the Pacers to play perfectly and leapfrog Chicago and Miami to the top of the conference.

bphil
12-20-2011, 01:52 PM
Brand better than West? Seriously?

Trader Joe
12-20-2011, 01:53 PM
I feel like most of this argument applies better to last year's team.

Ozwalt72
12-20-2011, 01:59 PM
Brand better than West? Seriously?

That argument can be made coming into this year, whether you like it or not.

Rebounded a little better, blocked more shots, more steals, and their shooting numbers are very comparable.

Just remember, Brand's making 13 mil more over the next two years, and is on the books for 18.1 mil the next.

Kstat
12-20-2011, 01:59 PM
I like the Bucks and Pistons to be better than last year. Both are teams that probably had worst-case scenarios last season and are due for better results.

Atlanta I think took a major, major hit replacing Crawford with TMac and Stackhouse. They have effort issues to begin with, and losing their emotional leader will hurt them even more than just the box score.

Orlando is another team ready to decline. Howard wants out, and you can't win consistently when the guy you built your entire offense and defense around isn't giving %100 because he isn't happy. Either they keep him and he hurts team chemistry, or they deal him and create a gaping hole in the middle. They're screwed this season no matter what.

Philly, Indiana and New Jersey are only going to get better. The Nets have one of the NBA's top two point guards in Deron Williams, this time for an entire season with a training camp under his belt. Philly has a young, rapidly improving team that is also going to benefit from last year's playoff series against Miami. Indiana caught people by surprise last season and won't have the element of surprise this time around. That being said, they made a huge pickup in David West and Paul George has the potential to give them a new dimension they didn't have last year off the dribble.

The Knicks are going to be a good team no matter what, but how good is a mystery, because their backcourt is a huge question mark. Still, you can pencil them in as a top-5 team in the east. Nobody is going to compete with Amare and Carmelo on most nights.

Boston is right there with the New York. A top-5 lock, but Jeff Green's injury opens up major concerns about their depth and they had frontline issues to begin with. Still, Rondo, Pierce, Garnett and Allen will win you at least %60 of your games, even in a bad year.

Chicago and Miami are the heavyweights. They're almost a lock to be the top 2 seeds in the east again, barring injury. Not much explanation necessary.

The Raptors, Bobcats and Cavs are on the opposite end of the spectrum. That's your bottom 3 in the east in most scenarios.

The Wizards are the biggest wild card in the east. They have so much talent, but their chemistry and maturity last season was awful. They could make the playoffs easily if they put it all together, but they could just as easily finish dead last in the Atlantic.

By my count, that's four playoff locks in Chicago, Miami, Boston and New York.

For the other 4 spots, Indiana and Philly have better odds than the other teams. Assuming that holds true, Orlando and Atlanta have the most overall talent of the remaining eight squads, but both teams have potentially combustible locker room issues that could de-rail them. In case either slips up, you have Milwaukee, Detroit, New Jersey and possibly Washington waiting in the wings.

I cannot see any scenario where the Cavs, Bobcats or Raptors make the playoffs. They're lottery fodder.

Kstat
12-20-2011, 02:02 PM
How do you think they will respond to Frank's cpaching after the dreaded Kuster?


Kuester actually had a pretty good first year in Detroit with an injury-depleted roster. Then he got most of his guys back, and couldn't manage them worth a damn.

Frank could take a nap on the team bus during games and be an improvement over last season. As it is, he's a highly intelligent coach, and he's an easy guy to root for. His players love playing for him, and I think his offensive schemes are a great fit for our backcourt, and will speed up Monroe's development.

Ozwalt72
12-20-2011, 02:07 PM
The Knicks are going to be a good team no matter what, but how good is a mystery, because their backcourt is a huge question mark. Still, you can pencil them in as a top-5 team in the east. Nobody is going to compete with Amare and Carmelo on most nights.

Boston is right there with the New York. A top-5 lock, but Jeff Green's injury opens up huge question marks about their depth, and they had frontline issues to begin with. Still, Rondo, Pierce, Garnett and Allen will win you at least %60 of your games, even in a bad year.


I agree with almost everything, but the knicks aren't locks in my opinion. Too thin, too much reliance on the health of Chandler.

Kstat
12-20-2011, 02:08 PM
I think you could build an NBDL roster around Amare and Carmelo, and they would be an 8th seed at worst, assuming they are both healthy. They're the top two scorers in the league at their positions. They create huge mismatches just about every night that will make everyone else better.

To go deep into the playoffs? Yeah, that's when Chandler comes into play. But they don't need him to get there.

Kegboy
12-20-2011, 02:22 PM
Nobody thinks we're gonna finish 1-3? Nobody?!

What kind of homers are you people? :loser2:

Kstat
12-20-2011, 02:23 PM
In a best-case, dream scenario, the Pacers could climb to 3rd. The odds on that are pretty long, though.

By the same token, the Pacers in a worst-case scenario probably miss the playoffs entirely.

Ace E.Anderson
12-20-2011, 02:31 PM
Very good post. You made some very good, and valid points. I agree with you that a lot of us pacer fans along with the national media are overly excited about the prospects of this team. I still believe we are a legit outside shooter and backup shotblocking/rebounding big away from being one of the truly great teams in the East. Another aspect that hasn’t really been talked about is the fact that this is the first time this young core has faced anything resembling expectations. As we’ve seen too many times this team has a tendency to “get up” when given the underdog role (see wins vs Miami, LA, and the playoffs against the bulls) but also has a tendency to “let up” when facing lesser competition (See loses vs Minn, Toronto, and Washington) I think these facts more than anything will be worth monitoring throughout the season.

However, I am still highly intrigued by the talent and versatility this team brings to the table. With our current roster, we have the ability to matchup with any particular style of play whether it be smallball, or a more methodical, defensive type of game. The additions of D.West and G.Hill gives us some much needed veteran leadership, and experience. Both players have not only played an abundance of minutes in the western conference playoffs, but both players have played MEANINGFUL minutes in these games and were counted upon to produce at a high level.
Also I believe the addition of West brings added dimensions to our team that goes far beyond his usual 17/7 stat line. West brings a much needed CONSISTANT complimentary scorer for the pacers. This not only takes pressure off of Danny to score points, but it also takes FOCUS off of Danny and the rest of the team as well. West’s presence allows George, Hibbert, and Collison to go from being 2nd and 3rd options (depending on who’s hot, who we’re playing, etc) to being 3rd and 4th options. If you think about it, this may make Collison, who is a pretty decent mid range jump shooter, our 5th option on offense, not too bad. Also, with focus needed on West, it should open up more room in the post for Roy (provided that he can shoot over 52% from the field this year)

Perhaps no other player is going to benefit more from the addition of West than that of one Tyler “I’M a freakin beast” Hansbrough. Tyler will now go from about the 4th option on the starting lineup, to becoming a major focal point of the second team. His energy, enthusiasm, and will alone should allow him to thrive in that type of setting. But even more so, the fact that he was finally completely healthy in the offseason should mean even more improvement to both his high and low post game.
As for the addition to G.Hill, I think he will fit into a Jason Terry type role with our team (just less scoring, but more defense) as the 6th man who will finish a lot of games for us. The fact that he is able to guard 1’s and 2’s will allow George to get some rest from guarding the opposing teams best player all game.

The last point I want to touch on is the voice of Frank Vogel. The players seem to GENUINELY enjoy playing for this man, and that cannot be underestimated. His overly positive attitude, and outspoken swagger has given this team a bit of confidence that we haven’t had since the short lived J.O/Artest era. Philly and Milwaukee were mentioned as a team on the rise, but anybody that knows Doug Collin’s and Scott Skiles coaching history know that teams normally tune out their “tough love” coaching style after 2 or 3 seasons. This isn’t a lock to happen, but given the history of both coaches it would not be a surprise for these two teams to underachieve at all.

All in all, I believe the pacers will be a 5 seed, and play either boston or orl in the first round.

naptownmenace
12-20-2011, 02:57 PM
The one area where the Pacers could struggle is in their FG shooting from behind the arch. They were a below average 3-point shooting team last year and 2 of their best players from behind the arch are gone (Rush and Dunleavy). A lack of 3-point shooters will make it harder for Hibbert, Hansbrough, and West to score in the paint because teams will just focus on defending the paint area and force the Pacers to shoot from the perimeter.

George Hill, Paul George, Dhantay Jones, and Lance Stephensen can hit 3s but they aren't good 3-point shooters. Paul George has the potential to be decent but he was bad in his rookie season. Shooting is going to be a weakness unless Paul George really steps it up this year.

Ownagedood
12-20-2011, 03:06 PM
The one area where the Pacers could struggle is in their FG shooting from behind the arch. They were a below average 3-point shooting team last year and 2 of their best players from behind the arch are gone (Rush and Dunleavy). A lack of 3-point shooters will make it harder for Hibbert, Hansbrough, and West to score in the paint because teams will just focus on defending the paint area and force the Pacers to shoot from the perimeter.

George Hill, Paul George, Dhantay Jones, and Lance Stephensen can hit 3s but they aren't good 3-point shooters. Paul George has the potential to be decent but he was bad in his rookie season. Shooting is going to be a weakness unless Paul George really steps it up this year.

I also think 3 point shooting will be a bit of a weakness.. But not a huge one.. Danny can put it in the hoop all day from back there and I imagine PG has improved his shot just based off of what ive seen thus far.... Also, West and Hansbrough are great mid range shooters so i don't think we will have a problem with too much going on in the paint.. I believe West prefers mid range. Definitely a need to sign a good shooting SG though..

pacer4ever
12-20-2011, 03:10 PM
The Bucks could be a good team maybe even better than us if Bogut is healthy like they say. But with Stephen Jackson holding out for a ridiculous reason who knows. But a Dunleavy Delfino back court will get ate up by most wing combinations they need Jackson to be able to do anything. But Jackson wanting an extension when he has 2yrs and 20m left on his deal is just insane. Without Jackson I dont think they make the playoffs he is a key guy.

Kstat
12-20-2011, 03:16 PM
Jax is definitely the wild card. The Bucks only get even tougher on defense with him there.

His contract issues could derail the Bucks just as easily as it did the Bobcats last season.

Same goes for Nick Young in Washington. He's their best scorer, but they refused to pay him, and there's not telling how he'll react to playing under a 1-year QO.

Of the other two possible playoff wild cards in the east, Brook Lopez is going to be under the spotlight in NJ, especially with the Dwight Howard trade rumors involving him. He's as talented a scorer as there is at center, but his defense and rebounding are putrid. If he can raise both to even an average level, the Nets could be a playoff team, and Lopez could be an all-star.

The Pistons' season essentially rises and falls on the shoulders of a 20-year old kid. Brandon Knight is essentially the only real point guard on the roster, and he's getting the keys to the car almost immediately. He has more weapons at his disposal than people realize, but it's pretty much all up to him to grow quickly as a player and figure out how to run a team that crashed and burned last season.

HickeyS2000
12-20-2011, 03:39 PM
I haven't seen this mentioned, but Michael Wilbon seems to be high on the Pacers. This was from his ESPN Insider Chat yesterday.

http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/chat/_/id/41742/pti-co-host-michael-wilbon

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

Have watched a couple of preseason NBA games and was surprised that the quality of play was as good as it was. What's up with that?
mike wilbon (1:18 PM)

Great question: sense of urgency is my answer. Although, there were a couple of dog preseason efforts, too. Pacers-Bulls was top-drawer. I like the Pacers to finish 4th or 5th in the East...Somebody's going to sink, probably Orlando...I like Heat, Bulls, Celtics, Pacers, Knicks as my top 5 in the East. I guess that means I've got the Hawks and Magic slipping....The West is almost entirely dependent on what happens with Dwight Howard...he and Kobe together for 60 games could really be dynamic...

Jason J (NYC)

What do you think the Knick's chances are of advancing to the conference finals? The backcourt is pretty weak even with Baron, but that front court is huge, athletic, and can eat up defenses at both forward spots. I actually can't imagine them beating the Heat in 7 games, but everyone else in the East... Maybe?
mike wilbon (1:55 PM)

I don't see the Knicks, with that backcourt, beating Miami or Boston or Chicago in the playoffs, no. They're all just better. The Bulls are a lot better than the Knicks. They're strong defensively where the Knicks are strong (you think Noah, Taj Gibson, Asik and Deng can't bother Carmelo and Amare?) And they're REALLY strong where the Knicks are weak (D-Rose and Rip Hamilton)...I notice Knicks fans have taken to talking only about Miami...I can't wait for the Bulls-Knicks games...Can't wait. I think Indy has a chance to finish higher in the East than the Knicks. Indy DOES have a back-court, and Indy plays defense...The Knicks can get to the second round if they finish 4th or 5th...but conferencce finals? I don't see it this year.

Infinite MAN_force
12-20-2011, 03:43 PM
Jax is definitely the wild card. The Bucks only get even tougher on defense with him there.

His contract issues could derail the Bucks just as easily as it did the Bobcats last season.

Same goes for Nick Young in Washington. He's their best scorer, but they refused to pay him, and there's not telling how he'll react to playing under a 1-year QO.

Of the other two possible playoff wild cards in the east, Brook Lopez is going to be under the spotlight in NJ, especially with the Dwight Howard trade rumors involving him. He's as talented a scorer as there is at center, but his defense and rebounding are putrid. If he can raise both to even an average level, the Nets could be a playoff team, and Lopez could be an all-star.

The Pistons' season essentially rises and falls on the shoulders of a 20-year old kid. Brandon Knight is essentially the only real point guard on the roster, and he's getting the keys to the car almost immediately. He has more weapons at his disposal than people realize, but it's pretty much all up to him to grow quickly as a player and figure out how to run a team that crashed and burned last season.

The additions of Jackson and even Dunleavy were great moves by the Bucks. I think they could be pretty decent.

I also think the Pistons could compete for the eighth seed, though its up in the air because it will take improvements from the younger talent. Similar to last year for the Pacers.

Gamble1
12-20-2011, 04:54 PM
The additions of Jackson and even Dunleavy were great moves by the Bucks. I think they could be pretty decent.

I also think the Pistons could compete for the eighth seed, though its up in the air because it will take improvements from the younger talent. Similar to last year for the Pacers.
Jax is getting old and even though he is a guy who plays hard all the time I just don't think he will make it all the way through this season. He's already got a pulled hammy and a lower back issue.

crunk-juice
12-20-2011, 04:58 PM
i voted 7-8. i see us finishing 7th behind MIA, CHI, NYK, BOS, ORL, and ATL. hopping ATL could be a possibility though.

people seem to be forgetting how inconsistent most of our players are.

d_c
12-20-2011, 05:32 PM
I see the Pacers making the playoffs almost by default and perhaps fighting for the 5th seed. They have more talent and depth than in the past, therefore I see them having more margin for error than teams like the 76ers, Nets, Bobs, Bucks, Pistons etc...and when I say that, I mean that don't have to have "everything go right" as much as those other teams. They can afford to have some guys with slightly subpar years or even injuries and still make the playoffs.

Other than the Heat/Bulls/Celts, nobody is really all that scary, and the Celts are getting old. I see the Pacers fighting Orlando/NY/Atl for the 4,5,6 seeds.

naptownmenace
12-20-2011, 05:45 PM
I voted 7-8 for 3 reasons.

1. Injuries always seem to play a factor with the Pacers.

2. They won't sneak up on many teams this year. They're expected to be better.

3. If I'm right I won't be disappointed. If I'm wrong and they're better, I'll be estatic!

Scot Pollard
12-20-2011, 06:11 PM
i voted 7-8. i see us finishing 7th behind MIA, CHI, NYK, BOS, ORL, and ATL. hopping ATL could be a possibility though.

people seem to be forgetting how inconsistent most of our players are.

Who the hell is forgetting?

The reason for that was because of a certain coach playing around with the rotations too often.

Vogel will keep the rotations consistent.

Lance George
12-20-2011, 06:20 PM
The Miami Heat are clearly the class of the East. They won the conference last year in their first season of the "Big 3," and they should be even better this year with more chemistry between their superstars, and an improved supporting cast. I see Miami winning <s>62-68</s> 50+ games and finishing with the league's top record.

After Miami, I only see Chicago as a lock to be better than us. I don't think they're as good as their 62-wins last season would indicate, but they should still be a top-five team. <s>57</s> 47 wins.

Boston wasn't anything special last season. They finished the season going 19-15 in their final 34 games, including 6-7 in their final 13. They then swept the comically overrated Knicks before being manhandled by the Heat, 4-1.

Will they be any better this season? KG, Pierce, and Allen are a combined 2,465 years old, and now one of their top backups, Jeff Green, is out for the reason. I see a <s>50</s> 40 win season from Boston.

The Nets were 4-8 with Deron Williams in the line-up. Sure, he's an elite-level player, but he doesn't have much to work with. The Nets have laid a rotten egg in free agency. I see <s>34</s> 27 wins.

People like to use the injury excuse for the Bucks last season, yet they were bad even when healthy.

Milwaukee, with Andrew Bogut: 28-37 (.431)
Milwaukee, without Andrew Bogut: 7-10 (.412)

Stephen Jackson is a solid defender, but for how much longer given his age and nagging injuries? Besides, defense was the least of Milwaukee's problems. Their big problem was their horribly inefficient offense. Somehow, I don't think throwing a career .418 shooter into the mix is gonna help matters much. The Jennings and Jackson backcourt is gonna be one of the biggest pairings of bricklayers in NBA history. I'll give Milwaukee <s>36</s> 29 wins.

The Knicks have star power in Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, but that star power didn't lead to many wins last season. They were 14-13 with Melo in the lineup, no better than what they were without him, and then were swept in the first round by the Boston Celt<s>Geriatr</s>ics. Tyson Chandler should be a big help, but I think people and undervaluing how important Chauncey Billups was to them. To go from Chauncey to Toney Douglas and a broken-down Baron Davis is a major downgrade. I'll go with <s>48</s> 39 wins for the Knicks.

The Pistons are like the Pacers in that they've managed to rebuild without completely bottoming out like a lot of teams. They may not have been winning much of late, but they haven't embarrassed themselves like the Wolves, Kings, and the like. They've managed to draft well, also like the Pacers, and have accumulated a solid collection of young talent. Still, I doubt this is their year. They're too inexperienced. Better luck next year. I'll go with <s>32</s> 26 wins for the Pistons.

The Magic have a ton of off-the-court distractions with the whole Dwight Howard drama. Even without that, they still have a rough looking roster, full of has-beens and never-weres. It's hard to predict how the Magic will do without knowing how long Dwight sticks around, and, if he's moved, what they get in return. I see a total collapse on the way for the Magic. <s>39</s> 31 wins.

The Hawks should be their usual good-but-far-from-great selves. I don't see them as noticeably better or worse than their 44 wins from last season. I don't think Crawford was much of a loss, and neither did they, apparently, considering they didn't have much interest in bringing him back. I think T-Mac playing at 50% can replace Crawford. We'll go with <s>47</s> 38 wins.

The 76ers are being forgotten about. They surprised a lot of people by going .500 last season, and their young talent should continue to improve together. Elton Brand isn't quite as good as David West, and certainly isn't what he once was, but he's still a solid contributor. I see <s>44</s> 35 wins.


Predicted Eastern Conference Standings
1. Miami Heat (52-14) [65-17]
2. Chicago Bulls (47-19) [58-24]
3. Boston Celtics (40-26) [50-32]
4. New York Knicks (39-27) [48-34]
5. Atlanta Hawks (38-28) [47-35]
6. Indiana Pacers (36-30) [45-37]
7. Philadelphia 76ers (35-31) [44-38]
8. Orlando Magic (31-35) [39-43]
----------------------
9. Milwaukee Bucks (29-37) [36-46]
10. New Jersey Nets (27-39) [34-48]
11. Detroit Pistons (26-40) [32-50]
12. Washington Wizards (23-33) [29-53]
13. Toronto Raptors (20-46) [25-57]
14. Charlotte Bobcats (19-47) [23-59]
15. Cleveland Cavaliers (13-53) [16-66]

TheDavisBrothers
12-20-2011, 06:28 PM
you do realize that they only play 66 games this year don't you?

BlueNGold
12-20-2011, 06:29 PM
This is a deeper team this year, is maturing and just added an all-star calibre PF and a very solid guard...along with a couple scrappy bench players who will give teams fits. Considering all of our good players from last year matured another year, I cannot see how we are not much better. Also, the deeper the team, the better the record in a shortened season. I would be very, very surprised if this team is kept out of the playoffs.

Lance George
12-20-2011, 06:30 PM
you do realize that they only play 66 games this year don't you?

Mind slip. :o

rabid
12-20-2011, 06:56 PM
I think the problem with posts like this, while well reasoned, is they essentially assume every other team will mesh with their new acquisitions while we struggle with ours due to the short season, that other teams will only be affected positively by acquisitions yet to come, and that no matter what the Pacers do, they will be eclipsed by other teams - including those who will simply be healthy (when at the same time the Pacers players being healthy isn't considered an advantage from year to year).

I'd venture to say the analysis essentially expects only the best from every team in the East that has a chance at the mid-range of the playoff seedings. While it insulates the prediction from actual bad things happening to the Pacers, in its way it isn't any more realistic than those who expect the Pacers to play perfectly and leapfrog Chicago and Miami to the top of the conference.

While this is fair, I'd counter that there can an equal (if not greater) problem in the opposite direction on fan boards like PD.

We assume that all of our additions will work out, our new coaching and front office staff will work out well, everyone will stay healthy, we won't miss losing guys we didn't have last year, etc. And we make more pessimistic assumptions about other teams.

Personally I think we finish with a 6-8 seed again, though with a better winning percentage. A second-round appearance would be awesome; 6-7 game 1st round would be a little disappointing but still progress.

TheDavisBrothers
12-20-2011, 07:36 PM
I'm sorry but, barring major injuries, their is know way the Pacers don't make the playoffs this year! Here's how I see it:

1. Mia- big 3 are a lock at the top with Chi
2. Chi- Rose and co. are a lock at the top with Mia
3. NY- still weak in the backcourt, Baron is old, injured, and a cancer imo and Tyson Chandler is not guaranteed to turn them into a good defensive team
4. Bos- they didn't really do much in the off-season, except loss Green and get older, those back-to-back games shouldn't help, plus their C pos is BAD
5. Orl- 2 words: Dwight Howard?
6. Atl- + TMac - Crawford = downgrade, PG and SF are weak, Joe Johnson is declining, now that i think about it, we probably should be better then them
7. Ind- we have a chance (granted a small chance) to be as high as 3., we have 7 guys who could easily average double digit ppg
8. Phi- you could argue that we are just as good at PG, SG, SF and PF, plus oh yea, they have SPENCER HAWES at C, Hibbert should own him

9. NJ- someone else posted that D-Will is the 1 or 2 best PG in the league, I think CP3 and Rose would beg to differ (and this is from a D-Will fan btw), plus they really don't have anyone else on their team other than Lopez, who is a terrible defender and rebounder
10. Mil- are you kidding me? Jennings, Delfino and now Jax, Dunleavy... this team can't shoot just like last year when they were last in FG% and scoring
11. Det- I can't believe how many people are overrating this guys, unless Knight and Monroe become Magic and Kareem, they have no chance
12. Cha?
13. Was?
14. Tor?
15. Cle?

Scot Pollard
12-20-2011, 07:43 PM
I'm sorry but, barring major injuries, their is know way the Pacers don't make the playoffs this year! Here's how I see it:

1. Mia- big 3 are a lock at the top with Chi
2. Chi- Rose and co. are a lock at the top with Mia
3. NY- still weak in the backcourt, Baron is old, injured, and a cancer imo and Tyson Chandler is not guaranteed to turn them into a good defensive team
4. Bos- they didn't really do much in the off-season, except loss Green and get older, those back-to-back games shouldn't help, plus their C pos is BAD
5. Orl- 2 words: Dwight Howard?
6. Atl- + TMac - Crawford = downgrade, PG and SF are weak, Joe Johnson is declining, now that i think about it, we probably should be better then them
7. Ind- we have a chance (granted a small chance) to be as high as 3., we have 7 guys who could easily average double digit ppg
8. Phi- you could argue that we are just as good at PG, SG, SF and PF, plus oh yea, they have SPENCER HAWES at C, Hibbert should own him

9. NJ- someone else posted that D-Will is the 1 or 2 best PG in the league, I think CP3 and Rose would beg to differ (and this is from a D-Will fan btw), plus they really don't have anyone else on their team other than Lopez, who is a terrible defender and rebounder
10. Mil- are you kidding me? Jennings, Delfino and now Jax, Dunleavy... this team can't shoot just like last year when they were last in FG% and scoring
11. Det- I can't believe how many people are overrating this guys, unless Knight and Monroe become Magic and Kareem, they have no chance
12. Cha?
13. Was?
14. Tor?
15. Cle?

Yeah okay...... :rolleyes:

TheDavisBrothers
12-20-2011, 08:21 PM
Yeah okay...... :rolleyes:

gee thanks for the brilliant insight

DonSwanson
12-20-2011, 11:04 PM
The Bucks are really a mystery to me.

Here’s why Milwaukee worries me. We’re talking about a team that was 30th, dead last in offensive efficiency last season. And that’s really saying something that a Cleveland team that set the NBA record for most consecutive losses averaged half a point more per 100 possessions than they did. That’s how bad they were…. But they still finished 9th in the East. And we all know why they didn't drop any further than that.



People like to use the injury excuse for the Bucks last season, yet they were bad even when healthy.

Milwaukee, with Andrew Bogut: 28-37 (.431)
Milwaukee, without Andrew Bogut: 7-10 (.412)

But GrangeRush, Milwaukee was never healthy. They led the entire NBA in games lost due to injury last year.

http://www.brewhoop.com/2011/7/21/2180038/comparing-the-bucks-injuries-to-a-decades-worth-of-data

Thank you for the data on Bogut in and out of the lineup—but remember, Bogut was NEVER healthy last season even when he was playing. It wasn’t just that he missed the 17 games, but he wasn’t himself in the other 65. For more context, consider Bogut’s preseason a year ago 2010 vs today:

http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/104686539.html

2010 article: Bogut likely to be limited by injury all season.

"The elbow, finger, everything . . . I won't be 100%, so I'll have to play through the pain through the season. Even once it gets better, I'm still going to be 90% for the year or 85%.
"I don't have my mobility and flexibility like I should, but I just have to adjust to it."

Last season Bogut had his worst shooting season with a FG% 3 points below his career average. What’s more likely--Bogut again shooting 49.5% as he did last year while dealing with the injury, or getting back to above 52%--average for him, now that he’s healthy?

http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/bogut-knows-its-time-to-step-up-his-game-ka3chqa-135417748.html

2011 article quote: "The injury is much better, night and day, I'd say, to where it was last season. I'm back to being competent with my right hand."

So to recap, they had the worst offense and the worst luck with injuries, and they still finished 9th in the East? What happens to them if they just improve marginally on offense, or aren’t completely decimated by injuries?



Stephen Jackson is a solid defender, but for how much longer given his age and nagging injuries? Besides, defense was the least of Milwaukee's problems. Their big problem was their horribly inefficient offense. Somehow, I don't think throwing a career .418 shooter into the mix is gonna help matters much. The Jennings and Jackson backcourt is gonna be one of the biggest pairings of bricklayers in NBA history. I'll give Milwaukee <s>36</s> 29 wins.


Here’s how I would frame it though, Grange. This season, Milwaukee will again be a poor offensive team. We can agree on that. But they don’t need to excel here in order to be successful. They’ve already proven this. All they have to do is not completely suck on offense. All they have to do is resemble the 46 win 09-10 Bucks team that was 23rd in offensive efficiency as opposed to last year when they were 30th. And how can they again crack the top 25? It’s not hard to see—just return to average.

1). Average Bogut thanks to better health—Improve from 49% back to career average 52%. This alone makes them not completely inept.
2). Average injuries—They can’t possibly lead the league again, right?
3). Let’s talk Mike Dunleavy, Jr... I think he could be huge for this team in this regard (“Huge” meaning that he helps this team to not completely suck on offense). I agreed with those who felt it was time for the Pacers to move in a different direction away from Dunleavy. But Mike D. is a guy who can help promote offensive efficiency and we know this team badly needs it. We were a better team on the floor with Mike D. last year than we were with him on the bench according to plus/minus, and I think he will benefit the Bucks in a similar way. We know he can promote movement and knock down some shots.
4). As for Jackson-- He’s been a key player on 3 elite defensive teams—San Antonio, Indy, Charlotte—so in this regard, even at his age he could be an upgrade over Maggette. As for the inefficiency—that’s a fair point, but at least he won’t make their offense any worse—nowhere for this team to go but up!!


I like the Bucks and Pistons to be better than last year. Both are teams that probably had worst-case scenarios last season and are due for better results.

I completely agree about Milwaukee. They were a 6 seed, 46 win team in 2009-10 when many things went well, and 9th, 35 win team last year when pretty much everything that could go wrong actually did go wrong. So that’s why this year I’m splitting the difference and thinking they’ll be a .500 team, 8 seed. Because they know how to grind out wins with their defense. Nothing really exciting about this team, but they know who they are and how to win. Their identity is defense and they are proven. The question is—will the Pacers be able to improve defensively and instill that same kind of identity? Last year, 6 of the league’s top 7 defenses were in the East—Boston and Chicago tied for first, Orlando (3), Milwaukee (4), Miami (5), Philadelphia (7). This season will we supplant one or more of these teams in defense? If a person’s answer to this question is "no", then I would argue that their answer to “Will we be a playoff team” must also be “no.” New York was a bad defensive team, but they got away with it b/c they had the second most efficient offense in the conference behind only Miami. We don't have the kind of firepower on this team to be able to get away with that like they did. David West is not going to significantly help us get away with that. If we are to be a playoff team, then I believe strongly that we must first establish ourselves as a consistent top tier defensive team. My lack of confidence in this happening is largely why I see us as missing the playoffs, because average, inconsistent defense will not cut it in a playoff race with a steady team like Milwaukee.


I think the problem with posts like this, while well reasoned, is they essentially assume every other team will mesh with their new acquisitions while we struggle with ours due to the short season, that other teams will only be affected positively by acquisitions yet to come, and that no matter what the Pacers do, they will be eclipsed by other teams - including those who will simply be healthy (when at the same time the Pacers players being healthy isn't considered an advantage from year to year).
I'd venture to say the analysis essentially expects only the best from every team in the East that has a chance at the mid-range of the playoff seedings. While it insulates the prediction from actual bad things happening to the Pacers, in its way it isn't any more realistic than those who expect the Pacers to play perfectly and leapfrog Chicago and Miami to the top of the conference.

That’s fair, but back to the Milwaukee example—last year was a worst case scenario for them, which is why I think it’s a reasonable conclusion to draw that they will improve upon 9th. As long as they are again an elite defensive team and their luck isn’t completely horrible with injuries, then that’s a .500 ballclub, book it. If anything I guess the main takeaway is that there is more parity this year in the 7 through 11 range of the conference, so even if we are better on paper--right now I’m sticking with Philly and Milwaukee in those 7 and 8 spots because they have already proven that they can sustain an elite or near elite defense for a full season, and I tend to think 7 and 8 will largely be decided by defense.

TheDavisBrothers
12-20-2011, 11:30 PM
Though I still believe we will make the playoffs, your points on Mil are valid, I can respect that

Haywoode Workman
12-20-2011, 11:36 PM
I picked 7-8 just because it seems like the western conference is finally passing the torch on to the east as the most stacked conference. The east just looks VERY tough this year.

trs72
12-21-2011, 12:50 AM
I'll say anywhere between the 4th and 6th seed, possibly 7th but no lower. I am sure some on here are going by the 2 preseason games and I really am not gohy ing to put much into that. It was the Bulls and they will give the Heat all they want this year IMO. I do have some concerns about are offense and how its not fluid. To much 1 on 1 and not enough running set plays. It was a lot like that last year even with Vogel. It seems there only play is spreading it and setting a pick at the top of the key every freakin time. If we dont get more motion in our offense it will be extremely tough to beat good teams. We also need to get a knock down perimeter shooter.

graphic-er
12-21-2011, 12:55 AM
If we miss the playoffs, then its time to blow this thing up and get a really high draft pick.

flox
12-21-2011, 04:21 AM
I would just like to add a few comments...

Hill vs Dunleavy and Rush is pretty interesting to me, because Hill is best as a 2/3, but his length is probably as not as good as Rush's, and he isn't as big as Dunleavy. I'm actually worried about our backup 3, because I've never been a big fan of Dahntay, and Dunleavy and Rush on bigger guys is probably better than Hill. While I think Hill is an upgrade, I wonder if we will notice any slippage defensively because of the loss of Rush/Dunleavy. Hill is great on the smaller guys and we probably upgraded wing defense, but we'll be leaning heavily on just Granger/George on the bigger wings, that I'm pretty confident that Hill has trouble guarding. To me this is where the loss of Dunleavy/Rush will be felt, but Hill is a strict upgrade in a lot of other areas. But when it comes down to it, I think I'd still want Dunleavy/Rush on players like Melo, Lebron, Deng and Pierce types...

In addition, I liked our offensive flow when we had Dunleavy on the court.

As much as I felt like Jones and McRoberts weren't really good players, I fail to see how West replaces what they brought to our team. West is a much better player, does a bunch of different things, but also does a lot of similar things to Hansborough. Jones and McRoberts were nice changes of pace..I don't see West being the same.

If there is any concern that I am trying to express- it is that I felt like we had a nice ability to change our team's style with rotations..this year I don't see it as much.


I agree that the Bucks should be a lot better, and D-Will was playing hurt for the end of last season, so I think he will have a positive effect on the Nets. I think we'll still be in the lower end, fighting for a playoffs slot, and it isn't and should not be treated as a lock for us, and we should be happy to make the playoffs!

CableKC
12-21-2011, 04:31 AM
I think that we'll be locked for the 7 to 8 seed while being a Bubble Team to push up into the next tier at the 5 to 6 spots. We need a lot of time to gel with the core of DC/PG/Granger/West/Hibbert/GH and some 3-Man combination of Foster/Pendegraph/Amundson/Inferno/Lance/AJ. With a shortened 66 game season with no training camp, I can see it taking some time to "get the ship" in order.

CableKC
12-21-2011, 04:33 AM
If we miss the playoffs, then its time to blow this thing up and get a really high draft pick.
You think that Bird will tank after missing the Playoffs? Prior to this last season, we missed the Playoffs twice in a row....fighting tooth and nail to the bitter end...regardless of the Playoffs.

Eleazar
12-21-2011, 05:42 AM
I'll say anywhere between the 4th and 6th seed, possibly 7th but no lower. I am sure some on here are going by the 2 preseason games and I really am not gohy ing to put much into that. It was the Bulls and they will give the Heat all they want this year IMO. I do have some concerns about are offense and how its not fluid. To much 1 on 1 and not enough running set plays. It was a lot like that last year even with Vogel. It seems there only play is spreading it and setting a pick at the top of the key every freakin time. If we dont get more motion in our offense it will be extremely tough to beat good teams. We also need to get a knock down perimeter shooter.

That is what bothers me too. Most of the time the only time there was ever movement last year happened when guys who won't be seeing any playing time with the Pacer's. Those people also just so happened to be some of our best shooters, or at least most efficient shooters. I don't really see any shooters on this team anymore, just scorers.

D-BONE
12-21-2011, 06:24 AM
I'm voting 7-8 as most likely. I think we'll improve some from last year, but I don't anticipate a quantum leap.

Here's what we have going for us that significantly alters us in a positive fashion...

-Last year's playoff experience
-George, West, Hansbrough

Here are significant challenges (most or all pointed out elsewhere in this thread)

-What if GH just turns out to be exactly what he was with SAS? (I'd suspect most were hoping for more here, including me)
-Compacted season actually works against us with less time to work in new guys and gel
-No movement on offense & no pure shooters
-DG, DC, & RH continue to be who they've been (not that far fetched; -DG must play aggressively on D and on the boards for us to make a jump beyond 7/8, don't know if he can)
-RH has to find a reasonable level of consistency & find a way to contribute when his O is not there (similar to Granger)
-Still no true, stable, high quality PG & still no true glass eating banger in the paint

Ultimately, I think we're a playoff team, but I think we'll struggle more than some might think to get in. We could challenge for 5/6 seed only if all scenarios turn out right, most notably continued player development. Conversely, I'm not convinced we've upgraded the backcourt or the depth at 5 as much as we think.

ndcoltsnpacers
04-25-2012, 01:10 AM
In a best-case, dream scenario, the Pacers could climb to 3rd. The odds on that are pretty long, though.

By the same token, the Pacers in a worst-case scenario probably miss the playoffs entirely.


I'm sorry but, barring major injuries, their is know way the Pacers don't make the playoffs this year! Here's how I see it:

1. Mia- big 3 are a lock at the top with Chi
2. Chi- Rose and co. are a lock at the top with Mia
3. NY- still weak in the backcourt, Baron is old, injured, and a cancer imo and Tyson Chandler is not guaranteed to turn them into a good defensive team
4. Bos- they didn't really do much in the off-season, except loss Green and get older, those back-to-back games shouldn't help, plus their C pos is BAD
5. Orl- 2 words: Dwight Howard?
6. Atl- + TMac - Crawford = downgrade, PG and SF are weak, Joe Johnson is declining, now that i think about it, we probably should be better then them
7. Ind- we have a chance (granted a small chance) to be as high as 3., we have 7 guys who could easily average double digit ppg


So you're sayin' there's a chance!

Seriously though, I know we already have an early season prediction thread bumped, but I'd had my eye on this one strictly for the poll involved. Now that we have the 3rd seed locked and loaded, it's bump time. I can't believe that on a Pacers message board there were only 2 votes for a top 3 finish out of 137 total votes! Almost nobody saw this coming.

Anthem
04-25-2012, 01:15 AM
So you're sayin' there's a chance!

Seriously though, I know we already have an early season prediction thread bumped, but I'd had my eye on this one strictly for the poll involved. Now that we have the 3rd seed locked and loaded, it's bump time. I can't believe that on a Pacers message board there were only 2 votes for a top 3 finish out of 137 total votes! Almost nobody saw this coming.

If not for Dwight drama, it would have been hard to pass Orlando, which would have dropped us to 5th.

gummy
04-25-2012, 01:18 AM
So you're sayin' there's a chance!

Seriously though, I know we already have an early season prediction thread bumped, but I'd had my eye on this one strictly for the poll involved. Now that we have the 3rd seed locked and loaded, it's bump time. I can't believe that on a Pacers message board there were only 2 votes for a top 3 finish out of 137 total votes! Almost nobody saw this coming.

Yeah, but in fairness, there were a lot of people who were optimistic enough to vote for the 4-6 range. If we had finished 4th or even 5th instead of 3rd most of us would still be very happy. I wonder how it would have been different if 1st, 2nd, 3rd had been distinct voting categories instead of lumped together.

BlueNGold
04-25-2012, 01:20 AM
This is a deeper team this year, is maturing and just added an all-star calibre PF and a very solid guard...along with a couple scrappy bench players who will give teams fits. Considering all of our good players from last year matured another year, I cannot see how we are not much better. Also, the deeper the team, the better the record in a shortened season. I would be very, very surprised if this team is kept out of the playoffs.

Nice post. I have to admit I agree 100%.

ndcoltsnpacers
04-25-2012, 01:23 AM
Yeah, but in fairness, there were a lot of people who were optimistic enough to vote for the 4-6 range. If we had finished 4th or even 5th instead of 3rd most of us would still be very happy. I wonder how it would have been different if 1st, 2nd, 3rd had been distinct voting categories instead of lumped together.

From what I remember the common sentiment before the season was that 5 was our ceiling. That 5-6 range seemed pretty likely but Miami, Chicago, Boston, and Orlando seemed out of reach. We would be battling with Atlanta mostly. Possibly the biggest thing this season has been that we were amazingly healthy despite all the games in a short period. Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, and now Orlando have all been hit while we really only had to deal with the loss of Hill for a few weeks and the retirement of Foster.

Nuntius
04-25-2012, 05:44 AM
Reading this thread was amazing. Thanks for the bump :D

BringJackBack
04-25-2012, 06:01 AM
He was just madbro because JOB was canned... :P

ilive4sports
04-25-2012, 06:05 AM
Man I bet DonSwanson feels silly now. He hasn't been around much this season. I saw another post of his where he called Hibbert the 5th best center in the Central Division

BringJackBack
04-25-2012, 06:06 AM
I’ll say it again—if we finish top 6 in the East with a top defense, Frank Vogel deserves coach of the year.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f13/harken4444/BoratSuccess2.jpg


Also, I think that it's astonishing how consistent Roy Hibbert, Paul George, Danny Granger, and DC have become, at least compared to last year. I guess adding David West and George Hill will do that for you, but a lot of the credit goes towards the young guys as well.

Nuntius
04-25-2012, 06:18 AM
Actually, DonSwanson did a great analysis. I would disagree with him if I was here but his analysis was very detailed and sound.

Also, it was downright scary to see how close GrangeRusHibbert was with his predictions. He missed NYK, Indy and Miami (and somewhat Orlando) but he got the rest of the teams almost exactly right. So, kudos to him as well.

But the absolute best part was TheColdHardTruth who voted for 12 - 15. Out of curiosity, I checked his post history. Oh the lulz to be had. Pure gold :laugh:

Will Galen
04-25-2012, 06:31 AM
From what I remember the common sentiment before the season was that 5 was our ceiling. That 5-6 range seemed pretty likely but Miami, Chicago, Boston, and Orlando seemed out of reach. We would be battling with Atlanta mostly. Possibly the biggest thing this season has been that we were amazingly healthy despite all the games in a short period. Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, and now Orlando have all been hit while we really only had to deal with the loss of Hill for a few weeks and the retirement of Foster.

I think Bird and Vogel had something to do with that in as much as Bird made the lineup deep like he wanted and Frank used the deep lineup by playing a ten deep rotation.

Thus our players didn't get wore down like other teams players, and so we avoided serious injuries . . . so far. (You who's reading this, please knock on your head at this time.)

naptownmenace
04-25-2012, 09:44 AM
The one area where the Pacers could struggle is in their FG shooting from behind the arch. They were a below average 3-point shooting team last year and 2 of their best players from behind the arch are gone (Rush and Dunleavy). A lack of 3-point shooters will make it harder for Hibbert, Hansbrough, and West to score in the paint because teams will just focus on defending the paint area and force the Pacers to shoot from the perimeter.

George Hill, Paul George, Dhantay Jones, and Lance Stephensen can hit 3s but they aren't good 3-point shooters. Paul George has the potential to be decent but he was bad in his rookie season. Shooting is going to be a weakness unless Paul George really steps it up this year.



I voted 7-8 for 3 reasons.

1. Injuries always seem to play a factor with the Pacers.

2. They won't sneak up on many teams this year. They're expected to be better.

3. If I'm right I won't be disappointed. If I'm wrong and they're better, I'll be estatic!

I'm so glad I was wrong. There were times when the Pacers struggled to shoot the ball especially with Danny's early season epic slump but PG, Dahntay, and Collison really improved their 3-point shooting beyond expectations. Who would've guessed that Dahntay Jones would be one of the best 3-point shooters in the NBA?

I'm not just happy I was wrong about how good the Pacers could be, I'm ecstatic!

:yes: :dancingba


PS - My Dad, who's not a member of this site, correctly predicted that the Pacers would wind up as the 3rd best team in the East. :eek: