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CNNSI.com Video: NBA Eastern Conference Preview with Chris Mannix (positive Pacers mention)
Except it's not. At all. We're not anywhere near beating Miami, to be clear. But when you do these whole offseason prognostications deals the the only thing CLOSE to a given (and this doesn't meet the dictionary definition of close, but it does NBA wise) is young teams getting better. Brooklyn could be really good if Lopez is back and Deron cares, they legitimately scare me.
We saw how much better we were with Hill starting. He's back. PG's in his 3rd year now, which is traditionally the make the jump year. West is old NBA wise yes, but he was the best player on the team the last 6 weeks or so thanks to his knee getting back to healthy and I expect to see much more of that this year. Roy's in his 5th year and still only 25 and we know how much the guy works. And they're all back together with a full training camp. This year is as optimistic as I'll ever be with this 1st option Danny group. Assuming healthy if they don't make the Conference Finals it's really time to think about what we want to go with Danny and just as a franchise in general, it's no given at all that West is a Pacer is 2013/14, and if he is he'll be on the plus side of 32.
SO. Speaking of. Put up or shut up time for Danny. The guy feels like old hat to us, and he is I guess, but he won't even be 30 until well into the season. No more of this BS slow start 42% shooting. Danny shoots 45% last year, "excusing" his 38% from 3 which remains solid, he puts up 22.2 a night last year. 3% improvement on 2 pointers means about 3.5 points more a night from Danny. Danny's done a nice job cutting down on shots and letting the rest of the team get theirs. That's great. But when he gets his he's got to perform. He's supposed to be in his prime. 45% from 2 while remaining a good long range sniper is part of how you get our bigs good looks. Long story short Danny has to start hitting shots.
All that aside. When Mannix mentions Hansbrough as a weapon I can't help but laugh.
Re: CNNSI.com Video: NBA Eastern Conference Preview with Chris Mannix (positive Pacers mention)
I agree with him pretty fully if you swap Tyler out for Mahinmi in the list of "big they throw at you". I've gone from luke warm at best to "they might just have something here" on my view of this season. The more I look at the balance of player types and skills the more I like it. Mahinmi and Green are big upgrades outright (way better than Lou and Barbosa-2012), and DJ is a massive upgrade as a "create for others" PG without giving up a strong 3P threat. Getting Young upgrades over DJones at both ends slightly.
They don't even really need guys to "step up big", like PGeorge becoming a top option talk or "Granger better put up this year" talk.
If West is just healthier (seems clear he is), Roy, Paul and Hill are just a little better and more comfortable with each other and Danny simply avoids that nasty slump he started with last year then this team is 4-5 wins better than they were and pushes into 55 win potential.
Miami vs Indy rematch for the ECF seems very obtainable to me, depending on how Roy-West match vs Noah-Boozer.