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I like crunching numbers and trying to quantitate what we're seeing on the court...
I decided to do some analysis of the Pacers schedule between today and the trade deadline (Feb 19). We have 13 games with 9 teams different teams with two games against Charlotte, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee. Eight of the games are home, 5 on the road. 5 of the games are on the second games of back-to-backs. Twelve of the thirteen are Eastern Conference opponents. The only Western Conference opponent is Minnesota.
The average records of the opponents of the next 13 games is 22-21. In another method to gauge how good the teams are, the average power ranking (Hollinger) of the teams is 12.7, playoff position (Conference winning percentage) is 7.8, and league ranking is 15.6. Pacers ranking is 17th, 14th, and 23rd, respectively.
Tough games will be the 2 against Orlando, 1 against Cleveland, and 2 against a Brand-name Philadelphia.
So if we gauge the playoff hopes for the Pacers for this season in the 8 games against teams not in the top 10 of the power rankings, I believe we will be able to determine whether the Pacers are good enough to make them now with a fairly healthy roster (Ford and Daniels are back). We are ranked 14th in the Eastern Conference rankings. These 8 games are against teams that are 6th (Miami), 8th (Milwaukee), 10th (New York) and 11th (Charlotte). [Philadelphia is currently 7th.]
Being in the tough Central division, the Pacers need to get wins wherever they can get them. To move up into playoff discussion, the P's have to start knocking off the teams just ahead of them in playoff contention.
Lack of playoff ranking movement might support moves made at the trade deadline with an eye to the future/next season and increased playing time for development of the rookies and McRoberts.
Or it might justify a trade for a superstar to dramatically improve the team right now...
Sometimes you change by not changing at all by getting healthier and developing team chemistry. The next 13 games will be telling of the Pacers playoff chances for this year. But any player movement needs to be made with an eye to the future Pacer playoff chances.