Here are my pre-season predictions from realgm. Aside from my lofty expectations of Pollard, they're pretty spot on, especially the one about Carlisle. Although I knew he was going to make all the difference in the world.
Posted: 04 Oct 2003 16:08
Post subject: Predictions for 2003-4 anyone?
Pretty conservative win total there, Charc. I notice no one here has really stepped up and been too bold or enthusiastic. Perhaps Gino's presence has contributed to that and tempered everyone's optimism.
Okay, so I'm going to be the one who veers off here then and revise my prediction. Based on a couple of things: Going into the All-Star break last season, the Pacers had the second-best record in the league. Second! Remember that, people? If we had even gone .500 for the remainder of the season, we would have topped 50 wins (52, to be exact). Had we done marginally better than that, we would have neared 60.
The reason I bring this up is Isiah. He simply could not command the ship. He mollycoddled the players instead of being the disciplinarian they needed in woeful and troubling times. He's gone. And this team hasn't really changed much since then. Okay, so we lost Brad. But he wasn't our offensive linchpin. Pollard will put up respectable numbers and his defensive play will give JO more scoring opportunities.
Yes, our early run last year was tenuous at best. I always felt like we were a breath away from crashing and burning, but I have to imagine that these players have done some soul searching during the off-season and matured a bit. With Carlisle at the helm, and Bird behind him, I think we're going to see a hungrier, more focused group of youngsters. And a reinvigorated Reggie. Even if Reggie were to hurt himself, someone would step up and we'd have the line-up everyone here has been crowing about.
Carlisle is the difference here, friends. He took a less-talented team to the ECFs last year. I bet he feels like a kid in a candy store right now. He will bring the discipline and forward thinking to the team that's been lacking for so long. He will shine here, and so begins the road to an amazing coaching career. He's learned from one of the best basketball minds ever to grace the game.
56 wins. We beat either the Pistons or the Nets in the ECFs, and face the Lakers in the finals. I'd rather it be the Spurs, but something tells me the Lakers are going to be monsters. By then, we will have made some adjustments. NBC, or whoever has the finals, will bill it as "The Rematch" and the Pacers shock everyone by winning it in 7. If it is the Spurs, we win it in 6. We become "a team of destiny." You know, all the hackneyed clichés sportswriters use to bump ratings.
It's a bold prediction, I know. Perhaps insane. But someone here had to do it and it might as well be me.