I have to give a shout out to Vnzla81 for what has to be heroic self restraint. If ever there was a thread that screamed for some dark sider reply this is certainly one of them.
That being said this is going to be one of the more interesting seasons in recent Pacer history. I could see this team going either way, very good or very dissapointing.
A lot of things hinge on health (as they do for all teams) & how important chemistry is to a normal regular season.
In regard to our championship hopes, let me say this: There are known knowns. These are things that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't known we don't know. Depending on how the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns play out, we'll be in good shape to compete for an NBA championship.
Last edited by LG33; 09-24-2012 at 01:43 PM.
Apart from the Mavs the Heat in 2006 was such an example. The Magic in 2009 was a similar case as well even though they just reached the Finals.
I'm not saying that the Pacers are going to win the championship this season. But being in that second tier is an important step. You have to be in the second tier and take the next step in order to be a first tier contender. You don't leapfrog from bottom to the top. It takes time. And we're on the right track.
That's all I'm saying.
Whose to say we won't be elite this year though? It rests on Paul George finding his next level, don't get me wrong. We need that star, that when the game is on the line can manufacture points one way or another.
But if George can find that part of his game that we saw flashes of last year. And if Hibbert and Hill both continue their progress that they have shown. Whose to say we can't be Elite?
You don't get the 5th best record in the league without there being something. And with so much youth both in coaching, and in our starting line up. You have to expect this team to get better.
The Heat and Thunder(for another year) are definitively better. But with the Rose injury the Bulls are almost certainly going to slip. I am 90% certain KG is mortal which means age is going to catch up to him at some point, why not this year. Lakers look to have surpassed us, but thats a backcourt with lots of issues, and Dwight Howard is as mature as an infant who knows what chaos he could bring.
So at the moment, there are two teams that are Elite, Thunder and Heat. They are both known quantities, we have seen them before. And then there are several teams, the Pacers included, who hope to join the ranks of the elite. All these teams hoping to be Elite, have issues and concerns. And whichever teams best weather those issues and concerns will join that Elite class.
In 03-04, we were 8th ranked going into the season. But we addressed our loss at Center with Foster, who was damn good in that slow pace offensive system. We made Jamaal Tinsley the starter, and that worked quite well for a season or 2. And then JO and Ron both developed their defensive game making it so we didn't need to score alot of points.
That team on paper at the beginning of the year, wasn't elite. But things came together over the course of the year and left us come playoff time, the team to beat.
There's 29 other teams who would like to have the backcourt issues the Lakers have.
The article you posted is for the 2004-2005 season -- the season after our 61-win team. After coming off 61 wins and a Conference Finals appearance, many "experts" had us back in the final four; not exactly surprising.
From my recollection, the 03-04 61-win season was a surprise. We were a decent 48-win team the season before, sure, but we were also a first-round exit. Just as importantly, we lost Brad Miller -- who was coming off of an All-Star appearance -- in the offseason.
I can find only one 2003-2004 season preview article from a major source via Google search: SI's 2003-04 NBA Preview - Thursday October 23, 2003
I'm not sure who wrote the article, but they have us as third in the East (behind New Jersey and Detroit), and 10th overall. Solid, sure, but the exact same seeding as the previous season, and not exactly a member of the NBA elite.
Indiana- too many "ifs" have to happen. "If" Paul George takes his game to the next level. "If" Roy Hibbert can become more aggressive and dominate smaller players. "If" George Hill learns how to be a better distributor. "If" our bench is truly improved.
Miami- one certainty, Lebron James will be in MVP form again
Being unable to close out a game in which you have a comfortable lead in the 4th Q = Pulling a Frank Vogel
The Pacers have an outside shot. I'd say they've got just as good of a chance as any non preseason favorite. (Not Miami, OKC, or Lakers) I'd say they were the next tier down with the Spurs.
In the East, they should be better than everyone not named Miami. And Miami is a vulnerable dominant team.
Whether they could beat OKC (who now has the experience of being there) the Lakers, or the Spurs (outside shot of them making the finals) is another question.
I say they lose to Miami in the ECF in 7 games
Frank Vogel says "Killer instinct, start strong, build a lead and then step on their throats."
For the fail.
Pre all-star records:
They had fallen to 34-15 with a 3pt loss to the Lakers in which they played without Ron Artest and Kobe still went 11-31. After this they went on to win their next 3 games coming out of the AS game for a games above .500 high of 37-15.
NBA records as of that date (Feb 14th games completed)
So with only 30 games left the Pacers had the 2nd best record in the NBA. They had swept the TWolves who ended up with the 4th best record in the NBA and were 29-20 before the AS break. They had split with Dallas, the #1 team in the NBA. They had lost 1 time to both SAS and LAL.
They then went 1-11 in their next 12. Artest had returned from suspension for the first 3 games after the AS break which the team won, but in which Ron shot 3-9, 4-16 and 5-17. He was in the midst of his distracted play, full of horrible shooting and technical fouls. Pre-AS he had shot 45% and 37.8% from 3, Post-AS he went 39.7% and 29% from 3. During this time his FGA/game went from 12.0 to 12.6, minor but a factor of some of his high volume shooting games.
During early 2003 he had the 3 game suspension for the MSG camera smash (Jan 4) and then 4 games for his altercation with Pat Riley (Jan 30). Then he smashed his own photo on a Conseco wall leading to a team suspension of 1 game (Feb 26). He then lost games due to Flagrant Foul points on Mar 9 (1 gm), Mar 13 (1 gm) and Mar 20 (2 gm). The Flagrant that cost him 2 games was just a few seconds into the start of a game vs Boston. The dude had gone completely nuts since JAN and clearly impacted what was obviously otherwise a title contending team.
Everyone viewed the team this way and many felt that some of the issues fell on Isiah's "player friendly" approach.
And the point of my response on the 02-03 team and expectations was that they had been kicking NBA rear until Ronnie became a major distraction. They had TWO ALL-STARS on the team, one of which was on the verge of being an MVP candidate. They had another guy that was about to be an all-star and were it not for his antics he might have been in 02-03.
That's not this team. This team was a lot more like the 00-01 or 01-02 team. Stuff is getting there but they are still looking for something to click. This could be the 02-03 team maybe where they have a strong run that leads people to believe that next year they really are title contenders.
But the 02-03 team had a MAJOR change going into 03-04, a huge improvement at coach that wasn't really in dispute given Rick's W-L his first 2 years and his rep as an ast. with the 98-00 team. What is the change coming into this year on par with that? What did they do last year that suggests that this big change was just the thing to put them over the top?
You add DWill or Nash at PG then I'm buying, but otherwise this is not the same as coming out of 02-03 where people most certainly thought the team SHOULD be great if only Rick could keep all the pieces working together.
You use the fact that they had 2 all stars as evidence people were expecting them to be good the next year. Even though they lost one of those all stars for Scot Pollard? You don't see the problem with that logic.
The 2003-2004 Pacers. Had to work in a new coach. Had to address question marks at PG. Had to try out a new player at C and their starting SG was what 37. And they still had to keep control of the knucklehead at SF.
So no, I am sorry. Nobody expected them to be the best team in the league that year. They had too many questions to address and it was amazingly fortuitous that they managed to work out all those issues so well. And thats exactly what I am saying. This team has far fewer issues to address to contend than that team did. All this team really has to have is players to improve along their expected learning curve, and nobody have any major setbacks or hit any plateaus.
Lurking in the pack. Nobody doubts Indiana's talent, not after they blew out of the gate 30-12 last year. Losing Brad Miller will hurt, but several of the young players are in a position to contribute much more than they did a year ago. If Tinsley can put the pieces together, and Artest's head stays screwed on, the Pacers can still rule the East. It's up to Carlisle to put in place the pieces that Thomas couldn't.
"I had to take her down like Chris Brown."
Barring injuries, 5th in the East is very low, and 8th makes no sense at all.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Or throw in a first-round pick and flip it for a max-level point guard...