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Thread: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

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    Default ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/...ason-questions

    Danny Granger stands as the cornerstone of the Indiana Pacers franchise, even as his field goal percentage and PER again declined from his performance in the 2008-09 season.


    Will the Pacers' complementary pieces improve, giving the Pacers hope for advancing past the first round for the first time since 2004-05?

    We continue our Central Division tour with a look at the youthful Indiana Pacers, the No. 8 East playoff seed last April that impressed with a spirited effort in a five-game, first-round exit at the hands of the regular-season champ Chicago Bulls.

    Fact or Fiction: Darren Collison is the answer at PG.

    Tim Donahue, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fiction. Darren Collison may be an answer at the point, but not the answer. His offensive game suffered greatly from the lack of a quality pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop partner, but the permanent problems are his size and his defense. That being said, a Collison/George Hill combo is good enough to allow the Pacers to focus on other needs first.

    John Hollinger, ESPN.com: Fact, sort of. Teams have won big with worse point guards, and I certainly wouldn't call him a liability. But Collison by himself isn't a difference-maker, even if the Pacers can convince him to convert some of those 22-foot 2s of which he's so fond into 3-pointers -- he's small and doesn't see the floor well.

    Jonathan Santiago, Cowbell Kingdom: Fiction. If the Pacers were completely sold on Collison, would they have traded for George Hill? Probably not.

    Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: Fact. Collison is a perfect complement to a rebuilding project like the Pacers. He's an excellent passer and can score to some degree, but he's unselfish enough that there isn't going to be any Russell Westbrook thing going on when he gets better. Playing under Chris Paul did him a world of good.

    Jared Wade, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fiction. Collison struggled until Jim O'Brien was canned so I do expect improvement. But he is a young, quick point who should have flourished running a fast-paced offense for a team devoid of leadership. Instead, during his second season, he dropped off statistically in all the categories that matter and tallied double-digit assists in just four games.

    2. Fact or Fiction: Paul George is the answer at SG.

    Tim Donahue, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fact. Strictly speaking, Paul George is the answer at something -- not necessarily the 2, but, close enough. He showed a lot in terms of defense and maturity, but he needs to find an offensive identity. Frank Vogel's offense cannot ignore him the way it did down the stretch last season. George needs to be given a prominent, defined role.

    John Hollinger, ESPN.com: Fact, sort of. George is absolutely the answer to something -- I think he's one of the best young wings in the league -- but at 6-8 he's stretched both defensively and as a ball handler at the 2; his future is more likely to be at small forward. Which is a bit problematic given that Danny Granger already plays there.

    Jonathan Santiago, Cowbell Kingdom: Fact. There's consensus among observers that George played phenomenal defense for the Pacers in their first-round playoff appearance. The Pacers have witnessed their other defensive wings fizzle out (Dahntay Jones, Brandon Rush), but it seems that George may buck that trend.

    Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: Fiction. When the Pacers nearly nabbed O.J. Mayo at the trade deadline, it was an indication that they aren't totally content with George as a major part of the future. Even after a subpar first season, though, he still has the time to convince Vogel and the rest of management that he can be a reliable rotation player.

    Jared Wade, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fact. He is an excellent athlete who takes pride in defense. He is dangerous in transition and refined enough to score in the half court. He can handle the ball from both wing spots and guard three positions. Nationally, a lot of people took notice of the way his defense disrupted Derrick Rose in the playoffs. People in Indiana knew before that.


    3. Fact or Fiction: Tyler Hansbrough is the answer at PF.

    Tim Donahue, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fiction. Tyler Hansbrough is the type of player every team should want, but he has very real limitations that make him a less-than-ideal starting 4. Still, Tyler has spent his life defying expectations. If he proves me wrong, I expect him to shape a career and game that looks a lot like David West's -- with a mean streak.

    John Hollinger, ESPN.com: Fiction. I like what he brings but I think he's stretched as a starter given his lack of length and aversion to passing. As an energy backup who also provides an underrated source of second-unit scoring? Love him in that role.

    Jonathan Santiago, Cowbell Kingdom: Fiction. Hansbrough would be a solid energy guy off the Pacers' bench. As a starter, I'm not sold. This is a position they could address in free agency, with a forward like West available.

    Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: Fiction. Hansbrough might work hard, but he doesn't provide the scoring or defense at the 4 that the Pacers need to make the jump to the top of the East. The Pacers will likely go hard after West and Kris Humphries to fill that spot.

    Jared Wade, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fiction. Hands Bro can be an excellent first big off the bench for a championship team and perhaps even a productive starter in the right frontcourt. But to look at him as an "answer" on a roster so removed from contention, no matter the question, is overstating his ability to individually affect a game.


    4. Fact or Fiction: Roy Hibbert is the answer at C.

    Tim Donahue, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fiction. Hibbert's PER was over 18 against lottery teams, under 15 against playoff teams, and just over 12 in the playoffs. He does not handle defensive adjustments or adversity well. He is prone to go into a funk when his offensive game isn't working, which is an all-too-common occurrence.

    John Hollinger, ESPN.com: Fact. He proved that last season, with the key unappreciated stat being that he cut his foul rate enough to stay on the floor long enough to be a legit starting center. He's still getting better, and while he'll never make all-defense he's evolving into a great half-court post weapon.

    Jonathan Santiago, Cowbell Kingdom: Fact. I've said it numerous times now on previous 5-on-5s: The center position is thin on talent. Hibbert isn't an elite, game-changing center. But he's serviceable and that's really all you need at that position these days.

    Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: Fact. Hibbert still has a lot of room to improve on the offensive and defensive ends, but he's a good rebounder and he can block shots -- it also doesn't hurt that he's 7-foot-2. A great center is a rare enough commodity in the NBA these days that the Pacers aren't going to give up on Hibbert, who's certainly in the top half of 5s right now at the young age of 24.

    Jared Wade, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fact. With so few traditional centers left, a guy this big, with this skill set, is an asset. His inconsistency is baffling and his mental makeup seems enigmatic, but he has touch in the paint and can pass out of the high post. He won't provide a reliable 35 minutes every night, but his positives should outweigh his limitations. Should.

    5. Fact or Fiction: The Pacers are on their way to the East elite.

    Tim Donahue, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fiction. Danny Granger remains head and shoulders above his teammates in terms of NBA value, and that does not make for an elite team. To get there, the Pacers will need to add two players as good as or better than Granger -- probably a scorer and a quality big. Paul George is the only young player capable of making "the leap."

    John Hollinger, ESPN.com: Fiction. They have a ton of cap space this summer, but it's not clear how they'll lure good players to the corn belt, nor, for that matter, who will be the GM making the decisions on how to utilize the space. They've given themselves a chance, but much work remains.

    Jonathan Santiago, Cowbell Kingdom: Fiction. They're a team that's good, perhaps better with the acquisition of George Hill. But what other moves can they make to improve without giving up the key pieces on their team? Unless they can find someone looking to dump star talent for cap relief, they're stuck in a holding pattern.

    Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: Fiction. The Bulls exposed that even with very good coaching and great effort, the Pacers aren't quite ready to make the jump into the East's upper echelon. They're still one key player short of making that a worthwhile conversation.

    Jared Wade, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fiction. Last season can be considered a success for a franchise climbing its way out of an abyss so deep, but let's remember that Indiana still won only 37 games while playing in one of the worst divisions I have ever seen. There is no reason the Pacers can't win 45 games next season, but "elite" is a faraway adjective for this squad.
    Last edited by 90'sNBARocked; 08-23-2011 at 01:17 PM.
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    Artificial Intelligence wintermute's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    My own answers would be:

    1. Darren Collison is the answer at PG - Fiction
    2. Paul George is the answer at SG - Fact
    3. Tyler Hansbrough is the answer at PF - Fiction
    4. Roy Hibbert is the answer at C - Fact
    5. The Pacers are on their way to the East elite - Fiction

    Like others, I think Paul G is the answer at something, but not necessarily SG. Long term, I think his best position is SF. But we'll see.

    My Roy answer also needs qualification. Big guys who can play are so rare that Roy becomes the answer at C almost by default. Hopefully he can get more consistent, but if not then I'd want a very good backup playing behind him.

    Interesting that so many analysts are down regarding Collison. I mean it's very nice that we "stole" him in a trade for Troy Murphy. But for myself, while I think he's a nice enough player, certainly much better than what we've had in the past, but in a league full of superstar point guards he looks kinda average. And for a guy who doesn't bring superlative scoring or playmaking, you'd like to have at least passable defense.

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    Nice work by PacersDigest's own. Great work fellas!

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    If we are giving our answers....

    1. Darren Collison is the answer at backup PG. I think he could be the best backup PG in the league.

    2. Paul George is the answer at SG. His length needs to be paired with Granger and Hibbert to make our defense better. That's the biggest reason we need a long, athletic, rebounding big. It's a vision of what our defense should be. Let Granger score more.

    3. Hansborough is the answer at backup PF. He is capable of being the sixth man on a championship level team. He will play big minutes over his career, but I think his absolute ceiling is Carlos Boozer. As a sixth man we can keep him by not having to overpay for him.

    4. Hibbert is the answer at center. Sorry Count, I disagree. Hibbert needs to develop consistency. All young players typically lack consistency in their earlier years. That is especially true for bigs. Hibbert is the foundation of what we do offensively and defensively. You gameplan around what you can get from him. His strengths are blocks and deep post moves. You may not agree, but his offensive game will get better. His length forces other players to be aware of him coming to the hole. If we can get another player who compliments Hibbert with size and length, we will be on to something. I hope we have the longest starting lineup in the league, which will benefit us defensively.

    5. Fact. As the statement reads... "on their way". I think we are on our way to the elite in the East. The picture is certainly not complete, but the foundation is there. And the cap space, too. I think there will be one or two significant transactions that will get us over the hump into that bunch, we just don't know what those transactions will be.

    Overall, pretty good article. I think our direction is towards being more competitive. If we look at our starting five of the future, Stephenson or Hill, George, Granger, TBD, and Hibbert, we have a ton of total length. I think that will make our defense tenfold better than it has been. Our offense will improve as the younger guys get comfortable. Hibbert gets more efficient, George a bit more prolific, Granger more efficient, plus we have three PGs who can all score the ball, but which one will play the best defense? I don't want to leave out Hansborough, because he will be an integral part of our rotation, providing toughness, rebounding, and hopeful efficiency.

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    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by JayRedd
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    Jared Wade, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fiction. Hands Bro ...
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    100 Miles from the B count55's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    Question # 5 as framed to the bloggers/writers responding:

    5. Fact or Fiction: The Pacers are on their way to the East elite. Note: We mean that eventually this group will get there.

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    Roy: fact
    Paul: fact
    Tyler: fiction
    Contenders: fiction, but getting there
    DC: fact, I think Pacers fans have always been too tough on pgs. He showed he's a starter with all star potential talent when he was in NO. I think in time he will be turning some heads.

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    Couldn't resist.

    Collison: likely fact. People have short term memories. Collison had stretches where he looked pretty damn good while in NO. If we move towards more PnR / PnP basketball, he'll shine. Last year will likely be seen in the future as a career aberrancy.

    George: fact at SF or SG. My guess is that we'll eventually move Granger for a younger, Eric Gordon-type of scorer, leaving George to man the 3. To upgrade, we're going to have to trade our way there, as free agency isn't going to be particularly kind to us.

    Hibbert: fact. He's young and still NBA immature. Can't teach height though, and he's got a good head on his shoulders, overall. I predict he'll be with us a long time, as our starting C and will get it done (in a year or two).

    Hansbrough: fiction. Love this guy, but we need a true post/defensive monster to truly complement Hibbert. Agree with those who said he'd make an awesome 6th man, which is often times as important of a role as the starting 5.

    Elite: fiction. Based on the current roster, we aren't anywhere near elite. A trade or three and some free agents later, it might turn into fact.

    Pluripotent: definite fact. We at least have control of our own team's destiny now, with almost 0 bad contracts, and good young players. Not many teams have this luxurious position at this point.

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    I really liked everyone's responses, but I got the feeling the Nets guy didn't watch many Pacer games last season.

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by count55 View Post
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    Question # 5 as framed to the bloggers/writers responding:
    How does that work? Do they send you guys emails with those questions or something?

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by cdash View Post
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    How does that work? Do they send you guys emails with those questions or something?
    Yes, a day or two before post time.

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by count55 View Post
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    Question # 5 as framed to the bloggers/writers responding:
    I guess then, Count, that you are interpreting "The Pacers" as "the collection of players as currently comprised." I think PG2 is interpreting "The Pacers" as "the organization as currently strategically positioned." We agree that the team needs an infusion of (veteran) talent. Can we lure/acquire that talent? Therein lies the focus of speculation.

    Nice to "see" you, by the way.

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    Hollingers view of DC last year is spot on im very impressed.

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    I disagree with anyone who says we are not on the right path to Elite of the Eastern Confrence

    Stud SF
    above average C
    decent PG
    nice role players
    2nd most cap space in the NBA

    Haters gonna hate
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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by 90'sNBARocked View Post
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    I disagree with anyone who says we are not on the right path to Elite of the Eastern Confrence

    Stud SF
    above average C
    decent PG
    nice role players
    2nd most cap space in the NBA

    Haters gonna hate
    cap space means nothing if we cant get good players to come to indy or there arent good free agents that fit a need. I define elite as a top 3 team in the east and that is 50+ wins every year I don't see us doing that anytime soon. I mean the Hawks are a very good team and win a lot but I don't consider them elite.

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    Eh, I don't quite understand the logic of "If DC was the long term solution, why did the Pacers trade for George Hill?" It's not as if DC can play 48 minutes a game, and last year our best point guard option off the bench was A.J. Price. Clearly we needed a legitimate upgrade.

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by pacer4ever View Post
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    cap space means nothing if we cant get good players to come to indy or there arent good free agents that fit a need. I define elite as a top 3 team in the east and that is 50+ wins every year I don't see us doing that anytime soon. I mean the Hawks are a very good team and win a lot but I don't consider them elite.
    I hear ya

    but that "They wont come to Indiana" is highly overrated

    shhhht our money is green, just like in LA/NY/Chi

    now if your saying someone like LBJ or Dwight Howard, I could see that, but for the rest of the NBA , not so much
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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    I'll say Fact for everything. Yup. I'll be that guy.

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by 90'sNBARocked View Post
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    I disagree with anyone who says we are not on the right path to Elite of the Eastern Confrence

    Stud SF - Best Player on team, but rated #51 in NBA by SI recently.
    above average C - Who spent 2-3 months of last season playing like a D-Leaguer
    decent PG - Can't argue with that
    nice role players - Can't argue with that
    2nd most cap space in the NBA - Total wins produced by cap space in NBA history = 0

    Haters gonna hate
    You may call me a hater. I call myself a realist.

    I think we're in great position, but projecting the current roster forward gets you nothing but first round playoff exits.
    Last edited by OakMoses; 08-25-2011 at 09:38 AM.
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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: Fiction. When the Pacers nearly nabbed O.J. Mayo at the trade deadline, it was an indication that they aren't totally content with George as a major part of the future.
    Damn I don't think that statement could be any more wrong!

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    1. Fact - I don't think he needs to be the best player on the floor for us, or even the best player in our backcourt, but I think we can win a title with Darren as our starter. I think he's going to be a much-improved player two-three years down the line.
    2. I'll say faction - I guess it depends whether or not he can be a full-time two guard. I think he can be, but I know many others disagree. I'm thinking our long-term plan is likely to keep Danny and run them both as wings and not as a traditional, clear-cut guard and forward combination.
    3. Fiction - I think Tyler's future lies as a super duper 6th man. And I don't want that to come across as any kind of slight on his game. Jason Terry is what I consider to be the standard-bearer of a true 6th man's mentality, and he's had a great career. But if he was starting at the two for Dallas and playing 33 or 34 MPG, everyone in the Mavs fanbase would be screaming for his head. But if you can fin a similar niche for Tyler, he can be the frontcourt version of Jason Terry. And that would be a fantastic asset for us to have.
    4. Fact - Hibbert can be the answer as our center of the future as long as he doesn't ever have to be more than the fourth- or fifth-best player on the team. I love big Roy, but I don't see us succeeding with him as our second- or third-best player. Again, no slight on him or his game, but it's the state of the modern NBA.
    5. I'll say Fact - Contingent on the idea that we are going to land a starter-caliber power forward that can be a big part of our future. Carl Landry would be a nice bench player, but a stretch as a starter on an elite team. I don't like the idea of resting our hopes on a 30-year-old David West and his surgically-repaired knees either. I'm thinking a guy more in the mold of a Jason Thompson or maybe Josh Smith. Someone that we can possibly land without completely gutting our roster. I think Smoove is on the move (IF YA SMELL.......) and he can probably be had for a reasonable prospect and cap space.

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    I would answer wait and see to pretty much everything.

    I think Hansbrough deserves this season ( if there is one ) to show if he can be a solid starter or if hes a 6th man ( or until the trade deadline if he struggles )

    I think Hibbert has improved enough to continue to allow him to be the starter.

    ..Ect. Ect.

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by mellifluous View Post
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    You may call me a hater. I call myself a realist.

    I think we're in great position, projecting the current roster forward gets you nothing but first round playoff exits.
    As of right now I agree with the above statement.

    I do think they are on the path, providing they make smart decisions going forward and perhaps catch a little luck

    Its not like were a cap'd out team with bad players locker room drama and crappy contracts

    that was 06-09
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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    Let's see how the CBA negotiations unfurl. The whole "FAs won't come here" point might prove anachronistic a few years from now under a hard cap and with revenue sharing.

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    Default Re: ESPN 5on 5 with the Indiana Pacers

    I'm curious on the last question, as to what their time frame is. From reading the comments it seems like it would be this upcoming season. In that case I will agree with them. But if its projecting further down the line, I have to disagree as we are in a very nice position.

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