I wanted to aimlessly ramble about the Pacers season thus far after seeing two big wins, so add your thoughts if you'd like.
I can't say enough about the Pacers defensive effort up to this point. My complaints of the Pacers always involved weakness in David West's rebounding and defense that I felt effective the entire unit as a whole. As a team however, this team can defend anyone. They rebound, they rotate well, they communicate incredibly well on the defensive side of the court. It's just wonderful to see. Every shot is contested, they don't allow high value shots such as layups/dunks and corner threes. This is the type of defense that can allow the Pacers to truly compete for a title. I doubted the Pacers chances in the off season but I now think I was wrong. I think they can beat OKC or Miami in the playoffs.
That's a bold prediction, but if you have a team that can defend against anyone, and win the battle of the boards you only have to worry about having just enough offense. Once Granger comes back this is a team that starts two legitimate big time scorers followed up by solid options in Hill and West. Once everyone is back and healthy, Indiana can beat anyone. I really do believe that.
These are some things that need to happen in order for the Pacers to realize their potential as title contenders this season. Vogel needs to really focus this offense so they're feeding the balls to their scorers and finding easy looks for everyone else. This means stop feeding the ball to Roy. Roy can be used for put backs, and PnR's at the rim, but his usage needs to go down. Stop giving the ball to guys who cannot score.
Once Hill is healthy, he needs to ensure he takes a bigger load of offense night to night. I think we all are seeing West wear down from time to time. I think we'll see West be more effective night to night if he doesn't have to play as minutes are take on as big of an offensive load.
Once Granger is back, Lance needs to learn to be the leader, and number one scoring option of the second unit. He needs to be able to get guys going, take as much of a scoring load as he can. I mean I like what Tyler and Green are doing from time to time, but the second unit is such a mess that most of the time you'll see Tyler and Green have underwhelming performances. Green can continue with his backdoor cuts, and his spot up jumpers. If it is more within a consistent offense, I bet we'll see Green perform much better each night. I think there is a real potential for the second unit to come together but a lot of this relies on Coach Vogel. I don't think he's done enough to help the offense at all this season.
For the love of God, please sit Hill until he can actually play, and not wonder around the court like a zombie. He was obviously sick as hell tonight.
Paul George absolutely should be in the all-star game and I don't think there is any doubt he's proven he belongs there. He's taken over as number one scoring option, scoring against the best every night. He's the anchor and best defender on the best defense in the NBA. What else can he do? Paul is an All-star period. 17/7 along with all world defense is surpassed by a handful of players in the Eastern Conference right now. Guys like Deron Williams, and Rajon Rondo are simply not better players at this point.
I don't want to complain about officiating really- On the whole it is pretty fair. However, why can't Paul get to the line? Paul is at the point where he just looks at the ref and shrugs after he gets hard on a drive to the basket on what should be an and one. Paul had a minimum guaranteed two and ones that were obvious. Why is he getting ignored? Tyler gets the calls every night but Paul can't buy a trip to the line. What gives?
The insane part is when Granger gets back, this defense gets even better. We'll be adding one more long, physical defender, with the ability to alter and block shots, This team is a defensive power house. The versatility of having Hill, George and Granger allows Indiana to defend anyone. Indiana will be able to throw Granger and George at Durant all game during any hypothetical 7 game series. I'm not afraid of Miami or OKC anymore. Really.
Last thought, we are seeing the development of what will be the greatest Pacer ever. Paul George absolutely is the truth. He's going to be a superstar. He's a defensive stud. He can score from anywhere on the court anyway he wants. Whether it his limitless range, the ability to drive to the rim using his size and length, the post up. Paul will be the greatest Pacer ever. This is just the beginning.