Pacers won 61 games this season, you can't do much better than that.
So the regular season is not a problem.
The playoffs however, maybe not a problem but they were unable to beat the Pistons.
This begs the question, what does it take to win in the playoffs?
1) Healthy players. That is the most imortant thing, more important than home court advantage. Not much you can do about this, this is where a little luck is involved. You could say well if a team has enough depth, they should be able to overcome any injury. Regular season maybe, but not in the playoffs if you lose your starting point guard and your franchise player is 60% and fading fast you won't win
2) Great coaching. No problem here, Rick is as good as they come so are the assistants.
3) Experience. This was a big problem in the Pistons series. But next season it should not be a disadvantage.
4) Homecourt advantage. To have the first two games at home and a possible game #7, that is an advantage.
I think next season none of these 4 things will be a problem.
Besides those 4 things what else is needed to be a good playoff team:
More than anything else you need a player who can score either himself or create an easy shot for someone else. This player must be able to create something out of nothing, create something when the "play" breaks down, create something when the defense is at its most intense, create something when the shot clock gets below 5 seconds, and create soemthing when the other 4 players are too scared to shoot.
Do the Pacers have such a player. No.
J.O and Artest are the two logical choices. But it is difficult for a post player to be that guy because, he is dependent upon other to get him the ball.
During the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs, I thought Artest was the Pacers player able to create something out of nothing. But as we saw in the Pistons series, he was unable to deliver. I don't know if he good enough to be that guy. Right now he isn't, but we know he will work to be good enough and we know he wants to be that guy.
[size=9:d0f9e7dfd5]Tracy McGrady with Ron and J.O on the court would be unstoppable. I would worry however about how Ron would handle not having the ball as much.[/size]
You could argue that the Pistons don't have that player either. True, and that is why scoring was such a struggle. But Rip had a huge effect on the pacers entire defense, yes ron did a good job in game #6, but the Pacers whole defense was shading towards Rip and that allowed other guys to get open and allowed offensive rebounds.
I think all of us want a shooting guard to help in this area, help by hitting some outisde shots, and help a healthy Tinsley and Ron create some better shots. They really don't need a player as good as Kobe or T-Mac, but they do need someone better than Reggie