There is a lot to be learned watching an offense like that of the Indiana Pacers. In many ways, their approach is similar to the sort of balanced attack that the Philadelphia 76ers employ: no real stars, but each player fills their role, generally plays within his own abilities, and they space the floor well while sharing the ball.
When the Pacers are scoring efficiently, the most recognizable characteristic of their attack is they consistently gain a numerical advantage. Whether on the break or in the half court, most of what they do best comes down to taking advantage of situations where they outnumber the defense. On the other hand, when they are content to play 1-on-1 or 5-on-5, their offense tends to stagnate, which forces them to rely on individual great plays: not what you want to have when you don’t have a certified lock-em-up scoring all-star.
The easiest place to observe their strength at work is in transition. Darren Collison and company do an excellent job creating an advantage with their speed and then exploiting it. Collison seems to be doing a good job in transition putting pressure on the defense. He pushes the ball in a lane well, and then allows any single defender to make his passing or scoring decision for him by reading his position.
As a team, they do a good job attacking the basket and spotting up opposite for kickouts. They use the dribble to draw a second defender, then kick. On the catch, the new ball-handler has a very brief window to take advantage of the outnumbered situation. Whether this be via another drive or a plus-one pass to an open teammate as the defense rotates, Indiana makes this play consistently well.
In fact, because their propensity to do the right play is so obvious, when they instead make a poor decision, it is also reasonably easy to see. It might be in a Danny Granger post up or a kickout to a player like Hanbrough, who is sometimes unable to simply make that catch-and-shoot, or make the catch-and-attack: his hesitation allows the defense to recover correctly, eliminating any kind of numerical advantage.
The offense occasionally grinds to a halt when isolating Granger. Since he is the most gifted scorer on the roster for the Pacers, he can overcome this with individual talent. However, this type of attack should be the exception, not the rule for Indiana.
Their ability to seek out these opportunities and then seize them is the mark of a good offensive team, and it is something that any squad interested in winning games should look to replicate. In the case of the Indiana Pacers, it appears that lesson has been learned. Creating a numerical advantage and then scoring off of those advantages allows them to get beyond the “need for a superstar” to be successful