Coming into the 2012-2013 NBA season, I was both excited and cautiously optimistic about the team. I considered their 2nd-round debut after being out of the post season a number of years refreshing and couldn't wait to see how the team improved themselves this season. Like many other fans, I expected there would be some changes to the roster, but little did I suspect that one of those players no longer on the roster would be Darren Collison! And here is where the focus of this thread takes shape.

While I expected team chemistry and cohensiveness would be problematic since so many new faces have been added to the roster, I did not expect to see this team struggle as much as it has since the season began. And like many fans, I've struggled to make sense of it all. However, I think George Hill provides the answer per this article from
[George]Hill, who led all scorers Tuesday with 18 points, but missed all four three-point attempts and had one more turnover (three) than assists, attempted to shoulder the blame.

"As a point guard I have to figure a way to get everyone involved and in sync," he said. "I put that on my shoulders. I have to find a way to get Roy going, and Paul and D. West.

"Right now I'm still learning as a point guard. I really never was a point guard growing up, so I'm learning every day. I have to take it like a man and figure out a way to do it."
Did you catch that last part? If not, I think all Pacers fans, as well as Coach Vogel himself, needs to read that last paragraph again!

I'm not calling for Hill to be benched nor do I believe he should be. IMO, he performed admirably last year both as the backup PG behind DC and as the starting PG when DC went down due to injury. So, I give him credit where credit is due. However, even Hill would tell you he's more of a Shooting Guard than a Point Guard. And that's part of the team's problem right now. Another is the fact that while Hill, by his own admission, is still in a learning phase so is our new backup PG, DJ Augustine.

IMO, the Pacers made a huge mistake in trading away DC AND AJ Price. This left the team without a true PG! CORRECTION...a true veteran PG. As hard as this team is struggling to manufacture points while also addressing chemistry issues, they're also trying to bend the learning curve with their PGs - something that's extremely difficult to do for a team that IS expected to compete after that outstanding performance from last season. But as the team continues to struggle, it's becoming more and more apparant that Coach Vogel needs to make a line-up change (soon). I would suggest the following:

C - Hibbert/Mahanmi
PF - DWest/T Hansborough
SF - PGeorge/Sam Young*
SG - Stephenson/Green
PG - GHill/B Hansborough/Augustin

*Only while Granger is out due to injury.

Once Granger returns, I would suggest going with:

C - Hibbert/Mahanmi
PF - DWest/T Hansborough
SF - Granger/Sam Young
SG - PGeorge/Stephenson/Green
PG - GHill/B Hansborough/Augustin

Why Sam Young at backup SF? DEFENSE, of course!

Why start PGeorge at SG ahead of Stephenson particularly since Stephenson seems to have developed some confidence in his newfound role at the position? Chemistry among the starters! Remember: We retained our STARTING CORE for a reason - this group performed very well together last year. There's no reason to think they couldn't pick up where they left off once Granger returns (and he's able to get his legs back under him [re: "game shape"]). However, I do believe it would be tempting to keep Stephenson at his starting SG position and bring PGeorge off the bench ONLY because you want someone with expericne, the ability to score and take charge of the 2nd-Unit w/the reserve players. Vogel may have to go this route if he can't get more productivity from the bench.

Why move Ben Hansborough ahead of Augustin? Not only is Augustin struggling to find his offense, he also appears to be struggling w/how to run the offense particularly when working against Zone defenses. I've watched Lil Ben [Hansborough] perform over the summer and in his brief stints of playing time not only does he seem to have better court vision, he also has the ability to create shots for himself. In other words, he has exhibited confidence in his game and his teammates seem to enjoy playing alongside him. Give it four more games and if Augustin hasn't improved his game play, I'd say it's time to yank him and play Ben Hansborough in his place.

I really don't think there's anything else that can be done to improve team performance beyond coach accepting a dose of reality and making some minor lineup changes. If the team continues on its current trejectory, the former 2nd round contenders who nearly took the Miami Heat the distance may find themselves out of the playoff hunt this year. And that would be a damned shame.

Make the adjustments, coach! Do it quickly before things get so far out of hand the team can't recover.