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Thread: What a difference a year makes

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    FREE LANCE MillerTime's Avatar
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    Default What a difference a year makes

    In 2007-08, the Pacers surged late, winning 11 of their final 16 games, but fell short of the playoffs with a 36-46 record.

    In 2008-09, the Pacers surged late, winning eight of their final 12 games, but fell short of the playoffs with a 36-46 record.

    The numbers are remarkably similar.

    The atmosphere is entirely different.

    "I think that everybody certainly feels that," said Coach Jim O'Brien. "We had not started to change things around this time last year. With all the moves we made and the type of people we feel are wearing the uniform now, there's a whole different positive outlook. We weren't playing two rookies and we weren't seeing two rookies develop, and they're developing very nicely. We had a whole different pair of point guards. It's dramatic, the feel that we have.

    "It's a team that they respect one another, they enjoy being around one another. The guys after practice hang around. They're not rushing out the door. They play well together, they challenge each other and there's a great chemistry. And chemistry always starts with management making sure that they have people in uniform that are the type of people that we can be proud of having in the uniform at all times and that's what Larry has put together.

    As the Pacers head into the summer of 2009, they do so with the sense that there will be more change to the roster. Five players become free agents (Jarrett Jack, Rasho Nesterovic, Maceo Baston, Stephen Graham and Josh McRoberts). The Pacers almost certainly will exercise their option to make Marquis Daniels a free agent. Travis Diener has indicated he'll consider exercising his opt-out.

    After bringing in seven new faces a year ago, they could lose seven this summer. It's another parallel that is nothing more than coincidence.

    Last year, the nucleus of the team required revamping, as did its image. Now, the core is largely intact. This is a roster that needs tweaking, not demolition.

    "I think we're going in the right direction," said Troy Murphy. "Last year, we had some guys that we knew were going to get traded. This year we know this is going to be the core group of guys and we're going to grow together and hopefully be together for a few years and make it to the playoffs and advance in the playoffs. We have guys that want to be here and guys that are going to be here for a while, we hope.

    "This has been the best locker room I've been in in eight years in the NBA. We really have a great group. When I first came here, I don't think it was always that way. Last year, it really wasn't towards the end. I'm happy to play with these guys and come and work with them every day."

    Though they missed the playoffs for the third year in a row, the season was not without accomplishment.

    Danny Granger, who replaced Jermaine O'Neal as the face of the franchise, made his first All-Star appearance, ranked fifth in the NBA with the highest scoring average by a Pacers player since 1976-77, and became the first player ever to raise his scoring average at least five points in three seasons. He's also a leading candidate for the Most Improved Player award.

    Murphy became the first player in league history to finish in the top five in rebounding and 3-point percentage. Only one other player has finished in the top 10 in both Larry Bird, who did it three times. He also set franchise records for total rebounds and defensive rebounds.

    Rookies Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert combined to start 61 games and play more than 2,800 minutes and both are projected starters for 2009-10.

    T.J. Ford (14.9), Jarrett Jack (13.1) and Daniels (13.6) all posted career-high scoring averages.

    Collectively, they proved to be giant-killers, recording victories over five of the six division winners, including the four teams with the best records (the Cavs, Lakers, Celtics and Magic), no mean feat.

    And when the calendar turned, so did they. The Pacers went 26-25 in 2009 (19-7 at home), 15-13 after the All-Star break.

    Beyond the numbers, this was one of the most consistently competitive teams in the league. No team played more games decided by three points or less (21). No team played fewer games decided by 10 points or more (24).

    "We're all friends," said Granger. "Most importantly, we're even friends off the court and I think that's big. We have really good chemistry. We've had our differences here and there but with team, any family, that will happen. I think the chemistry overall, this is a lot better group right here.

    "We've been through all this together. We've been fighting the battle together. We want to stay in it till the end."

    In the process, the Pacers began to regain their popularity with a fan base turned off by the previous iteration of the team. The Pacers averaged 16,203 fans for their final eight home games, an increase of more than 2,000 over their full-season average (14,182), which in itself represented an increase of 16 percent over 2007-08.

    "If you look at last year, we put together a little push toward the end of the year but this is different," said Jeff Foster. "You know the majority of these guys that are playing will be back next year. They seem to be getting it and contributing.

    "You know what? These last (few) weeks have been really refreshing."

    That word doesn't get used a lot at the end of a long, hard season that ultimately fell short of its primary goal.

    It applies, however, for the biggest reason things feel so different than 12 months ago.

    Last year felt like the end.

    This year feels like the beginning.
    http://my.nba.com/thread.jspa?threadID=5800023272
    By: Conrad Brunner
    Pacers.com
    "So, which one of you guys is going to come in second?" - Larry Bird before the 3 point contest. He won.



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    Running with the Big Boys BillS's Avatar
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad Brunner
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    Last year felt like the end.

    This year feels like the beginning.


    BillS

    "Every time I pitched it was like throwing gasoline on a fire. Pkkw! Pkkw! Pkkw! Pkkw!"
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  3. #3
    FREE LANCE MillerTime's Avatar
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Good article. Shows optimism for next season. With 7 players that could possibly leave (I hope we resign Jack), we could see bunch of new players coming in
    "So, which one of you guys is going to come in second?" - Larry Bird before the 3 point contest. He won.



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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    This is something I did not have running through my mind last April:

    Is it October yet?

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    The Dude Abides MrSparko's Avatar
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Quote Originally Posted by MillerTime View Post
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    Good article. Shows optimism for next season. With 7 players that could possibly leave (I hope we resign Jack), we could see bunch of new players coming in
    Besides Jack the other 6 players are outside the core though so that's not really that big of a deal. We'll get similar level players one way or another plus hopefully a talent boost in the draft.
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    Pacer Pride, Colts Strong Kid Minneapolis's Avatar
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Ya, I'm bummin' that I have no Pacers to watch all summer. Lookin' forward to the next season already.

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    FREE LANCE MillerTime's Avatar
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Quote Originally Posted by MrSparko View Post
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    Besides Jack the other 6 players are outside the core though so that's not really that big of a deal. We'll get similar level players one way or another plus hopefully a talent boost in the draft.
    Ya they're outside of the core, but I still think they'll resign a few of them. Jack more probably, McRoberts most likely, and possibly Graham
    "So, which one of you guys is going to come in second?" - Larry Bird before the 3 point contest. He won.



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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    I would love to get Jack back as our starting PG next season. He said he loves playing here and hopes to return which is a great sign. I would also like to get Josh back for another season with us.

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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    6 months without Pacers basketball...talk about painful...

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    FREE LANCE MillerTime's Avatar
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Quote Originally Posted by PacersRule View Post
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    6 months without Pacers basketball...talk about painful...
    closer to 7. Hopefully the offseason will be fun. I doubt we'll have an interesting offseason considering that we have no cap space or tradable assets that we're willing to trade.

    Does anyone know when we find out what number we're drafting?

    EDIT: I think I found it...I think its May 23rd
    Last edited by MillerTime; 04-17-2009 at 01:33 AM.
    "So, which one of you guys is going to come in second?" - Larry Bird before the 3 point contest. He won.



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    Boom Baby'er ABADays's Avatar
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Anytime we find players who want to be here, play as a team and stay off the police blotters it's a good thing. I certainly enjoyed the season. Better things ahead.

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    It is ka Thankee sai Major Cold's Avatar
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    I would rather watch summer league games than preaseason football.

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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Quote Originally Posted by MillerTime View Post
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    closer to 7. Hopefully the offseason will be fun. I doubt we'll have an interesting offseason considering that we have no cap space or tradable assets that we're willing to trade.

    Does anyone know when we find out what number we're drafting?

    EDIT: I think I found it...I think its May 23rd
    For all intents and purposes the Pacers are drafting 13th. They have about a 1%
    chance of drafting 1st,2nd or 3rd.
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Yeah, I love summer league. Anyone know when it starts?

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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    This is something I did not have running through my mind last April:

    Is it October yet?
    I have that running through my mind after each April. This year however, I feel a lot more excited.

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    All is full of Orange! Mourning's Avatar
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Good stuff. Certainly has a little propaganda feel to it, but it's not over the top IMO and I actually feel pretty much the same, except that we really DO need to add talent and straighten the salary structure a bit more (which could be two things in direct conflict with each other).

    Regards,

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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    I'm already bored!

    Long season of baseball all summer still to go.

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    Go Colts! Shade's Avatar
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Quote Originally Posted by Major Cold View Post
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    I would rather watch summer league games than preaseason football.
    I generally don't pay much attention to either.

    Unless I'm bored.

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    Go Colts! Shade's Avatar
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Last year felt like the end.

    This year feels like the beginning.
    That pretty much says it all.

    My major concern, obviously, is how we field a playoff-calibur team next season without exceeding the luxury tax. We have a lot of holes to plug, and it will only get worse if Jack demands more than we're willing/able to pay.

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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    I think barring a new horrible contract, we're past the worst of it. Dunleavy and Murphy's deals now only have 2 years remaining, as does Tinsley's. Granger's is a steal relative to what it could have been (especially now versus last fall). Keep Jack to no more than around $5 a year and they'll be okay. They're going to be getting better primarily through trades and the draft; they only need so much room to work with those effectively. Sure, it's tight, but I'm not particularly worried right now.

    If they let Jack leave, then I'll worry.

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    Go Colts! Shade's Avatar
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    I think barring a new horrible contract, we're past the worst of it. Dunleavy and Murphy's deals now only have 2 years remaining, as does Tinsley's. Granger's is a steal relative to what it could have been (especially now versus last fall). Keep Jack to no more than around $5 a year and they'll be okay. They're going to be getting better primarily through trades and the draft; they only need so much room to work with those effectively. Sure, it's tight, but I'm not particularly worried right now.

    If they let Jack leave, then I'll worry.
    This is what excites me the most. In another year, we could possibly have THREE big expiring contracts on our hands, as well as a more-experienced core of young players.

    If the planets align and Bird plays his cards right, we could be competitors again in as early as 2-3 years. I truly believe this.

    As far as Jack goes, I'm hoping the salary-shedding mentality will keep the market compressed enough to allow us to re-sign Jarrett without breaking the bank. I wouldn't be surprised if it took $6-7 mil/year to make it happen, though.

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    Running with the Big Boys BillS's Avatar
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Quote Originally Posted by Shade View Post
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    As far as Jack goes, I'm hoping the salary-shedding mentality will keep the market compressed enough to allow us to re-sign Jarrett without breaking the bank. I wouldn't be surprised if it took $6-7 mil/year to make it happen, though.
    I'm thinking few of the mid-level FAs are going to get anything bigger this year than what they have, even if they can get that. We often talk like the poor Pacers are the only team affected by the drop in the cap and the tax next year, but everyone except the biggest markets will be looking to stay under that tax number.

    I think it is a high probability Jack comes back to us at a very reasonable amount.
    BillS

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    Go Colts! Shade's Avatar
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    I hope you're right, Bill. We definitely deserve some breaks (and I'm not talking about legs/arms).

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    Honorary Area 55'er TMJ31's Avatar
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    This is something I did not have running through my mind last April:

    Is it October yet?
    You said it!
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    FREE LANCE MillerTime's Avatar
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    Default Re: What a difference a year makes

    Quote Originally Posted by Shade View Post
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    This is what excites me the most. In another year, we could possibly have THREE big expiring contracts on our hands, as well as a more-experienced core of young players.

    If the planets align and Bird plays his cards right, we could be competitors again in as early as 2-3 years. I truly believe this.

    As far as Jack goes, I'm hoping the salary-shedding mentality will keep the market compressed enough to allow us to re-sign Jarrett without breaking the bank. I wouldn't be surprised if it took $6-7 mil/year to make it happen, though.
    I agree. With all that money coming off the books and even the chance to move their expiring contract (in their last year) would be great
    "So, which one of you guys is going to come in second?" - Larry Bird before the 3 point contest. He won.



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