I purchased the Sporting news NBA preview and it had some interesting things to say about the Pacers. And I swear I did not write the comments about Foster.




1) They picked the Pacers to win 60 games and be the best team in the east only behind the Spurs overall.

2) Scouts take: "As well as Reggie Miller played last season, not having him will hurt the Pacers more in the locker room than on the court. This is a team that's as talented and deep as any team in the East, but their four main guys all can be a little knuckleheaded. J.O. likes to pretend to be mature, but then he'll do something immature. You're never quite sure when Tinsley and Jackson might lose their heads.

Then there's Artest. I don't think the guys on his team trust him. He is one of the best players in the league, but you just know something will happen. And now, even if it's not anything big, it'll be blown up and turned into a distraction. I also could see there being issues between O'Neal and Artest.

It's a good thing they have a strong coach in Carlisle, who is in the class with the league's best coaches.....Fred Jones is good enough to start in this league, but looks like he'll have to wait for that to happen on a regular basis.

Jeff Foster's injury really hurt them last season. As long as he's healthy, he should be the starter. This is a guy who can dominate a game at times even though he's not a scorer. Another guy who gave them good production until he got hurt was David Harrison.

3) Coaching analysis: Carlisle will have the most athletic lineup in team history. That, along with his increased trust in Tinsley, should allow Indiana to play at a faster pace. Don't expect a track meet, though, Carlisle will keep his hand on the offensive reins and try to maintain control of the tempo with a stingy halfcourt defense. Former assistant Brown implemented zone defenses on occassion, but his departure to the Cavs probably means the Pacers will use them less often.

Carlisle drew criticism last season for being too forgiving about details such as timeliness and dress code. His low-key demeanor however, enables his players to maintain a levelheaded outlook.