OK, I will admit that I do enjoy watching the Pacers play this year more than the last few years, because they do play an unorthodox style and it results in a more free-lowing game. It makes bad basketball more palatable. t also allows them to sneak up on teams that take them for granted, because it isn't an easy style to play against if you don't have it properly scouted.
All that said....
Bad basketball is still bad basketball. Injuries aside, they are in last place for a reason. They get so caught up in scoring the next basket that they often forget they're still on defense. I'm also convinced Dirk Harter is somewhere in a prison cell and they've repalced him with a cardboard facsimile. Has he been seen or heard from since Obie came in? I have yet to decipher any kind of a defense gameplan from the Pacers this year. Either they have a hot shooting night, or they don't. Thy don't have any intangibles in their favor beyond that.
I still don't understand why anybody can be happy scoring 110 points and losing rather than scoring 80 and winning. While I enjoy watching an occasional Pacers game, I also do not root for them. They are entertaining from 3rd-party perspective, but I wouldn't be able to stomach a week of not knowing when the other team was going to miss another shot. Yeah, that style can help you beat tough opponents, but it will also hurt you against teams that are not easy to get up for, and there are far more of of the latter than the former during an NBA season.
Granger- He's an all-star, that goes without saying. I do need to see him make the players around him better, though. He's a fantastic offensive force, but if he wants to be up there with the elite of the league, he needs to become a better passer and defender. I look at Wade as someone he should look to emulate. Wade is surrounded by very little, but he goes out of his way to do things he isn't asked to do, aside from scoring points. His will to win is remarkable, even when he loses. It's the mark of a truly great player. I see Granger at the top of the 2nd tier of small forwards in the NBA, behind Lebron, Pierce and Melo. It really isn't mentioned enough how far he's come in such a short time.
Marquis- He's actually a very efficient offensive player when he stays inside 18 feet. Problem is, he takes way too many long jumpers. Nice role player, but for this system,he's a bad fit.
TJ- He's made to play in this system, but the problem is he plays at so fast a pace he burns out easily. He's better-suited to come off the bench for shorter bursts.
Jack- Best acquisition the Pacers made this season. He's one of the guys I can see sticking around if the Pacers ever transition to a winning team. He's developed into a better outside shooter, as well as a versatile defender. Probably a backup on a contender, but still a guy you want on your team.
Murphy- Hate on his defense and post play all you want, but he can score and rebound. Not a lot of big men can do that consistently these days. You can probably get away with his drawbacks if you ever get a center that can block shots and score in the post, which brings me to...
Hibbert- Have to say I didn't see him being as good as he is. Best pick the Pacers have made in a long time. He's shown an ability to score in the post, and play adequate defense at the center position. He needs to get himself better conditioned and hit the glass harder, but he can be a serviceable true center in this league for another decade.
Foster- He's wasted here. The things he brings to the table were perfect for Carlisle's teams, but under Obie he's totally listless and undervalued. It seems like he plays only because he's Jeff Foster. Obie never really gives him a role on the floor, which is disappointing.
Rush- He's either JJ Reddick or Devin Harris. I haven't figured out if his jumper has just totally left him since he left Kansas, or he just needs a lot of time to get adjusted to the speed of the pro game. Either way, not quite as polished as he was supposed to be. Looks like he's either thinking too much or not at all, both of which are common rookie issues.
Dunleavy- Another guy that's right at home in an up-tempo motion offense. I think his absence has been very underrated. You need more than one guy capable of scoring 25+ a night if you want to win at that pace, and MDJ is qualified. Granger and MDJ have the potential to be the top-scoring swingman duo in the NBA. The problem is, one of them has to step up defensively for it to matter. I have to say I enjoy watching Dunleavy play. He's a very smart player, and keeps his cool in fast-paced games where its very easy to get lost and chuck up bad shots.
The Pacers to me are still a playoff team if they stay healthy. Their talent level is better than most of the teams between them and the 8th seed. But for them to get to the next level, they either need a lot more talent or a little more and a better coach. Not sure which is more likely at this point.