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Thread: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

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    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
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    Default East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/b...6411347.column

    Ira Winderman
    East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers
    Published July 24, 2005


    This never set up as a Heat offseason for gaining ground, not when limited to a $5.1 million mid-level exception while keeping an eye on the luxury tax.

    The goal merely has been maintaining enough of the momentum that left it within two minutes of the NBA Finals.

    With Udonis Haslem back, with Shaquille O'Neal a signature away and with free-agent guard Damon Jones the only significant challenge among the primary players, it likely will be the course of others that will restructure the Eastern Conference playoff race.

    Detroit: Don't understate the banishment of Larry Brown.

    Yes, the Pistons are at their best amid a crusade, but no one is as masterful as creating an us (me?)-against-the-world mentality as Brown.

    Until Rasheed Wallace exhibits the same devotion to Flip Saunders as he did toward Brown, nothing is guaranteed.

    And with Saunders practically mandated to develop Darko Milicic and Carlos Delfino, maintaining previous results with an altered rotation could prove especially challenging.

    New Jersey: In landing Shareef Abdur-Rahim on the cheap, Rod Thorn rounded out an already potent perimeter attack with a desperately needed low-post element. This could stand as the league's most significant addition this offseason.

    With a full season Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson, plus the potential of first-round pick Antoine Wright and the emergence of Nenad Krstic, New Jersey presents as intriguing an offense as any this side of Phoenix.

    Essentially, the Nets swapped out Jason Collins from their starting lineup for Abdur-Rahim. In the East, that's enough turn a No. 8 seed into someone holding homecourt advantage in the first round.

    Indiana: Ron Artest not only went out of his way to participate in summer league but displayed enough on and off the court to leave the Pacers confident that little has been lost from perhaps the best two-way player in the Eastern Conference.

    Yes, Reggie Miller is gone, but Stephen Jackson has a full season with the team, Jeramine O'Neal should be over the shoulder problems, Danny Granger was added in the first round, and there is the possibility of Lithuanian shooting ace Sarunas Jasikevicius in free agency.

    The Pacers still have Rick Carlisle; the Pistons lost Brown. That makes Indiana the new frontrunner in the Central.

    Cleveland: Yes, Larry Hughes and Donyell Marshall were added in free agency, and yes, Zydrunas Ilgauskas was retained.

    But none of the three ever won a second-round playoff series. So how exactly are they getting to ease the path to greater glory for LeBron James?

    Had Larry, and not Mike Brown been added as coach, the view might change. But, lacking anything more at point guard than Eric Snow, this team shapes up as little more than one content to hand James his first ticket to the postseason.

    Milwaukee: In retaining Michael Redd, signing Bobby Simmons, drafting Andrew Bogut, trading for Jiri Welsch and regaining T.J. Ford, the Bucks have the look of a team headed in the right direction, even amid the confounding dismissal of coach Terry Porter.

    Now Milwaukee has to learn to play as a team, one at least three years from serious contention. Dealing Desmond Mason for a power player would certainly advance the process.

    Washington: Antonio Daniels, Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins are in; Hughes and Kwame Brown are out. The upshot? Still not enough defensively or inside to be more than a second-round nuisance.

    The rest: Philadelphia, at best, will remain intact ... Boston likely will lose Antoine Walker and Gary Payton, has gained Brian Scalabrine, and will grow painfully younger ... The Knicks will remain an ill-conceived roster wrapped in a soap opera, one likely weighed down by the free-agent addition of Jerome James ... Chicago will continue to grow into a team that could emerge about the same time as Milwaukee, in the post-Shaq era ... Charlotte also will age well.

    THE FLIP FLOP

    Saunders offered an interesting spin on his 17-30 NBA playoff coaching record, noting of his tenure with the Timberwolves, "The way I look at it, we were never a favorite in the series that we lost." That, however, misses the point. Detroit wasn't the favorite when it beat the Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals, nor were the Pistons favorites when they defeated the Heat in this spring's Eastern Conference finals. The strength of the Pistons under Brown was they thrived as underdogs, something that will require Saunders to make the next step in his career.

    SUMMER SENTIMENTS

    Teams lacking at power forward might give another look to journeyman Lonny Baxter, who averaged 21 points for Houston's undefeated entry to lead all scorers in the Minnesota summer league. ... For as much as the Rockets will trumpet the addition of wildly erratic free agent Stromile Swift, one has to wonder if coach Jeff Van Gundy won't prove more comfortable with veteran Juwan Howard back at power forward alongside Yao Ming....

    Former Heat forward Malik Allen has drawn free-agent interest from the Nets, although it wouldn't be surprising to see Allen linked to the Heat before all is said and done.
    --------

    Indiana the new front runner in the central? Of course I agree!

  2. #2
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    Ira has always been one of my favorites. Read his column every week

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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    I agree with him. I don't expect Kstat et al will, but I do.

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    flexible and robust SoupIsGood's Avatar
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    I've thought we're the favorites to win the Central for a long time. I worried whether we could beat the Pistons in the playoffs. Now that Brown has left, I think we've got a shot at it.
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    Member Sollozzo's Avatar
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    I expect the Pacers to have the best record in the division, but I could really care less about that.

    Pacers won 61 games in 03-04, Pistons won the title. Regular season wins are meaningless, the true test for the Pacers will be against the Pistons in the playoffs.

    Can the Pacers beat Det in the playoffs? I just don't know.

  6. #6
    canyoufeelit
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    I don't agree either. I think under Flip the Pistons get the best reg season record in the East and homecourt throughout the EC playoffs (don't know if they can get more W's than the Spurs/Suns/whoever)

    Flip has always been a coach who wants his team to get HCA over resting up. And that's probably better for the Pistons, who weren't tired out in the Finals... instead they suffered a tough game 7 loss because they didn't have homecourt.

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    Fat, Drunk and Stupid Lord Helmet's Avatar
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    All about the playoffs, I agree.

    But, even though Brown is gone, I still expect a very tough and aggressive Pistons team waiting in the playoffs. And, they are not about to just let the Pacers breeze by.

    That said, I think we have a good chance to beat them. As always, as long as we have no significant setbacks. That includes, injuries, suspensions, and jail time.
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    Member Sollozzo's Avatar
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Helmet
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    All about the playoffs, I agree.

    But, even though Brown is gone, I still expect a very tough and aggressive Pistons team waiting in the playoffs. And, they are not about to just let the Pacers breeze by.

    That said, I think we have a good chance to beat them. As always, as long as we have no significant setbacks. That includes, injuries, suspensions, and jail time.

    I agree.

    I think this will be our best chance to beat them, but I still don't think I'd put my money on the Pacers when it came down to it.

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    All is full of Orange! Mourning's Avatar
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    I have faith this will be the year for our team to reach the Finals, what happens there? We'll see, but I'm pretty confident rightnow in our team. Hard to actually completely describe what I'm basing this confidence on, but It's based on last years early season games, together with a little "extra" I think we will have in distributing some "retribution" to some teams which hurted us last year, because of the injuries and suspensions.

    I think the only ones that can beat our team are:

    1) An awfull summer (JJ and Dale leave, Sarunas is not signed and we don't make a deal somewhere else to improve our backup at backcourt)
    2) The San Antonio Spurs (really the only team I fear next year, though the summer is still early. I want us to face Detroit next year, we won't breeze by them, but I think we can kick their *** the coming play-offs IF we face them)
    3) Out own team... in other words screwed up team chemistry, civil war, injuries, suspension, judicial convictions those kind of things.

    Regards,

    Mourning
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    I wouldn't say that Flip was the best man for the job, but seeing the fact that he's the only caoch out there with a playoff history (multiple first round exits, then one trip to the WC) he's the only choice the Pistons had... not like they're going to try to get some one with no experience...It's going to be an interesting year for the pistons, mainly because it's a new cog in their team, with Brown everyone meshed in his system...if they mesh the way they did with Brown then they'll be fine

  11. #11
    Naptown Seth
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    I have no fear of the Pistons. They're not that good of a team. The most overrated in the league, in my humble opinion. A starless group of role players with a mediocre coach.....they're a 2nd round exit waiting to happen.

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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    There's nothing overrated about a title and a game 7 finals loss in two years. With that said, their current situation may result in the exit you predict.

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    Rebound King Kstat's Avatar
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown Seth
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    I have no fear of the Pistons. They're not that good of a team. The most overrated in the league, in my humble opinion. A starless group of role players with a mediocre coach.....they're a 2nd round exit waiting to happen.
    Hi Sassan.

    Even if it isn't you, hi anyway.

    Anything else to add? You know, since you're on such a role of original thought, and all.....

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Member Sollozzo's Avatar
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown Seth
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    I have no fear of the Pistons. They're not that good of a team. The most overrated in the league, in my humble opinion. A starless group of role players with a mediocre coach.....they're a 2nd round exit waiting to happen.

    Man, if the "most overrated team in the league" has beat us 2 years straight in 6 games, then I hate to see what that makes us.

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    Rebound King Kstat's Avatar
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by PacerFanAdam
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    Man, if the "most overrated team in the league" has beat us 2 years straight in 6 games, then I hate to see what that makes us.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

    Division Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
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  16. #16
    foretaz
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown Seth
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    I have no fear of the Pistons. They're not that good of a team. The most overrated in the league, in my humble opinion. A starless group of role players with a mediocre coach.....they're a 2nd round exit waiting to happen.

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    I don't fear the Pistons.
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  18. #18
    canyoufeelit
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    Everyone should respect the Pistons... that's one helluva tough team.

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    Rebound King Kstat's Avatar
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    The people that don't respect the Pistons now never will. What, if the Pistons eliminate the Pacers a THIRD time, are they suddenly going to say "wow, I really resect them now."

    No, it'll be the same story, even if the Pistons eliminate Indiana 15 times.

    Mentally, that's the toughest team we've EVER had, including the Bad Boys. Not the most talented, but they know how to win.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Member SlamSally's Avatar
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat
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    The people that don't respect the Pistons now never will. What, if the Pistons eliminate the Pacers a THIRD time, are they suddenly going to say "wow, I really resect them now."

    No, it'll be the same story, even if the Pistons eliminate Indiana 15 times.
    I'm not so sure that the 2nd time was that much of a challenge.





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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem
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    I don't fear the Pistons.
    I don't either, but anyone who honestly thinks they'll be no bother to us is fooling themselves greatly.

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    Member SycamoreKen's Avatar
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown Seth
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    I have no fear of the Pistons. They're not that good of a team. The most overrated in the league, in my humble opinion. A starless group of role players with a mediocre coach.....they're a 2nd round exit waiting to happen.
    The first sentence I agree with. Respect, yes, fear, no. The rest is gibberish.

  23. #23
    foretaz
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat
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    The people that don't respect the Pistons now never will. What, if the Pistons eliminate the Pacers a THIRD time, are they suddenly going to say "wow, I really resect them now."

    No, it'll be the same story, even if the Pistons eliminate Indiana 15 times.

    Mentally, that's the toughest team we've EVER had, including the Bad Boys. Not the most talented, but they know how to win.
    i might be inclined to say i will eat my hat if the pistons eliminate the pacers a third time this coming year...

    but somehow, given past events, i dont think it would carry the weight that it should

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    flexible and robust SoupIsGood's Avatar
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    Default Re: East's best offseason start: Nets, Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by foretaz
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    i might be inclined to say i will eat my hat if the pistons eliminate the pacers a third time this coming year...

    but somehow, given past events, i dont think it would carry the weight that it should
    Actually, a hat might actually turn some heads around here, seeing as we are all adept shoe-eaters by now...
    You, Never? Did the Kenosha Kid?

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