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Thread: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

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    Default The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    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.

    Ramblings:

    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.
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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    Couldnt agree more. I remember laughing at people here for freaking out about the 3-6 start. I kept saying, let George adjust. He's 22 and wont just flip the switch at the beginning of the season. Look at him now. This defense is scary good. They keep this up and we're talking one of the best of all time.

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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    Also, lets say Indiana is the best in the east at the break. Paul George is the leading scorer and best defensive player on the best defensive team who's missing one of there top players coming into the season. Sounds like a MVP contender to me. I mean, when you really break down what he's done for Indy and you look at the results, you have to include him in the conversation.

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    I could have sworn we had a knee jerk reaction thread somewhere....

    I like the pacers this year. What they do with granger could possibly make them contenders. Long way to go, though. Winning a game I expected them to win pretty much how I expected them to win it doesn't change my opinion either way, though.
    Last edited by Kstat; 01-11-2013 at 02:39 AM.

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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    We've all for years talked about all the other teams in the East who have better players than the East. "*insert team* has at least so many starters who are all better than our best player." Take LBJ out of the picture folks and I wouldn't trade George for ANYONE in the E/C. Call me crazy, but no I wouldn't. No way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattie View Post
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    We've all for years talked about all the other teams in the East who have better players than the East. "*insert team* has at least so many starters who are all better than our best player." Take LBJ out of the picture folks and I wouldn't trade George for ANYONE in the E/C. Call me crazy, but no I wouldn't. No way.
    Oh, I don't think it's a stretch to say the pacers could come out of the east. They wouldn't be my favorites, but theyd be in the discussion. I don't think they currently have the firepower to take out any of the top 3 out west. Memphis is on the fence, depending what they do with gay.

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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat View Post
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    Oh, I don't think it's a stretch to say the pacers could come out of the east. They wouldn't be my favorites, but theyd be in the discussion. I don't think they have the firepower to take out any of the top 3 out west. Memphis is on the fence, depending what they do with gay.
    I just believe in defense. If you can defend, you have the ability to beat anyone so long as you have adequate enough offense. With Granger back, I think they will have enough offense. That's one helluva dark horse.
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    There's no bigger believer in defense here than me. But even the best defensive teams have to be able to create good offense once in a while.

    I'm not even saying granger will solve that. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. I'm not so sure I wouldn't be looking into a trade for a better fit alongside George.
    Last edited by Kstat; 01-11-2013 at 02:57 AM.

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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    We aren't contenders right now. If Granger returns in good shape and somehow he and George have perfect sync then we might be, but right now I don't think we're contenders.
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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    The biggest downfall in the end will be the Pacers signing Hibbert to a max contract, other then that, Granger being injured was a blessing in disguise for two reasons:

    1. Lance Stephenson has emerged as a solid option scoring/defensively
    2. Biggest reason: Paul George has morphed into a great player all around. His scoring efficiency can definitely improve if he becomes more aggressive and the referees start giving him the fouls he deserves.

    If Danny Granger was playing all season, Paul George would not have developed like this which is a tremendous sign for this team.

    With the addition of Granger, our offense will improve substantially and our defense would not be effected at all.

    And here I say it now: This year is Pacers best chance to get to the NBA Finals.

    Why? Our rebounding and defense is basically top 5 in the league which is critical come play off time.

    Furthermore, George's development due to Grangers absence is critical especially when Granger returns, we will have two wings capable of scoring 18+ ppg consistently.

    And finally, the Heat and Bulls, the two biggest threats to the team, have two big weaknesses that will play to our strength:

    1. Heat - Lack rebounding and an interior presence down low. George's development is highly important because now the Heat would have to not only focus on Granger and Hill scoring, but George's new offensive game would create problems for them.
    2. Bulls - The only weakness I see here is D-Rose coming off a serious knee injury. I dont think he will be 100% until next season so now would be the best opportunity to pounce and beat both of these teams in the playoffs

    If Granger comes back strong (lets pray this issue doesn't linger all year), these are the only teams that I can see beat this team. But this year seems like it is the best opportunity for the Pacers to have a big playoff push and enter the NBA Finals with the injury of D-Rose and the lack of size and physicality of the Miami Heat.

    (Btw, the best fit with George would be a play making SG like a James Harden or Eric Gordon healthy version type player, but Granger/George would be a heck of a defensive combo with great size)
    Last edited by The Future; 01-11-2013 at 03:01 AM.

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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    I think everyone is thinking too much into this Granger/George chemistry...

    The two have already players together for two straight seasons. The only difference is George wasn't half as aggressive and near as skilled as he is now. No other player on the Pacers ever tried to get George going as much as Granger did. Granger was always feeding George the ball and trying to get him going.

    I always see the playoffs in one scope: matchups. No team in the NBA can match up with the Pacers. Take Miami, Indiana's biggest foe. In the playoffs the Heat can put their cheater defender(lbj) on either George or Granger and shut one of them down. The other is then free to score at will. Put LBJ on George? Granger will absolutely destroy Wade. Granger is just too big and that's a terrible matchup for Wade, as good as a defender as he is. On the otherside of the court, Miami has to score against the best defense in the NBA. Also, a better rebounding team.

    Granger and George are fine playing together. They already proved it. The nice thing is you can only stop one of them.

    This was always what I thought was the fatal flaw with the Bulls. As great as they were, they only had Rose. They had the defense, but they needed another scorer. They had none (Heat put LBJ on Rose and it was curtains). The Pacers don't have that problem. Not only do they have either Granger/George, they last have good supporting scorers in Hill and West.

    The Pacers have a stupid simple offense. They bring the ball up, get the ball to the wings and they go to work. George and Granger will simply go to work as they did before, only now they support each other versus Granger having always lacked a fellow scorer.

    Make no mistake, George's biggest fan is Granger. Granger's job just got a hell of a lot easier.
    Last edited by mattie; 01-11-2013 at 03:16 AM.
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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    Much like Miami's offense, the Pacers offense has two wings that score. That's their job. Acting as if there is that big of a difference between Granger and George's positions is just wrong. They play the same position. The Pacers start a point/wing/wing/big/big offense. Just like Miami.

    I don't think the Pacers would actually be better with a "true" two guard next to George. In the supposed scenario, Miami would matchup MUCH better allowing Wade to terrorize which ever opposing two guard it was. Even if it was someone like James Harden. (we all saw what Wade did to harden in the playoffs last year)
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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    By the way, many of you are missing what Paul does on offense. He is handling the ball probably more than any player on the team. That's his role. How would playing next to Granger suddenly negate his ability to handle the ball at the top of the key and attack? Granger and George are going to kill it together on offense. (so long as Granger can actually get back into playing shape. This is the biggest IF)
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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    How do you defend a team that starts two 6'8" plus wings that can shoot from anywhere on the court? You can't. The only team that can come close is OKC and they'd be forced to play Thabo for 40+ minutes. That'd be a disaster to their offense..
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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    Question for you: Say Granger has been healthy and playing well all season. Does anyone think Paul G would have emerged as the #1 scoring option on the Pacers? Frankly I'm afraid that he would still be much like last season on offense.

    So when Granger comes back, I think the onus will be on Granger to adjust to playing with a more aggressive George. Not saying it won't happen, but I just don't think we could take it for granted. Certainly it would take a few games at least to "re-tune" the chemistry.

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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    Quote Originally Posted by wintermute View Post
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    Question for you: Say Granger has been healthy and playing well all season. Does anyone think Paul G would have emerged as the #1 scoring option on the Pacers? Frankly I'm afraid that he would still be much like last season on offense.

    So when Granger comes back, I think the onus will be on Granger to adjust to playing with a more aggressive George. Not saying it won't happen, but I just don't think we could take it for granted. Certainly it would take a few games at least to "re-tune" the chemistry.
    I don't think there is anyway George would have figured it out. But thats not on Granger. This has all been on George. Granger going out simply forced George to grow up. If you watched though, Granger has been trying to get George there. **** since day one. Granger was workig out with George before PG was even drafted.

    No one has wanted George to be who is now more than Granger. George was just timid. He isn't now, so there is little reason to believe he'd suddenly resort to timid play simply because Granger is back.

    In other words, there was no chemistry issues that caused this. Only George's reluctance to become what we all knew he could. He had to get thrown into the fire. He was in the first 15 games of the season and now he's ready. Granger will only make him better now.
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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    Quote Originally Posted by mattie View Post
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    I think everyone is thinking too much into this Granger/George chemistry...

    The two have already players together for two straight seasons. The only difference is George wasn't half as aggressive and near as skilled as he is now. No other player on the Pacers ever tried to get George going as much as Granger did. Granger was always feeding George the ball and trying to get him going.

    I always see the playoffs in one scope: matchups. No team in the NBA can match up with the Pacers. Take Miami, Indiana's biggest foe. In the playoffs the Heat can put their cheater defender(lbj) on either George or Granger and shut one of them down. The other is then free to score at will. Put LBJ on George? Granger will absolutely destroy Wade. Granger is just too big and that's a terrible matchup for Wade, as good as a defender as he is. On the otherside of the court, Miami has to score against the best defense in the NBA. Also, a better rebounding team.

    Granger and George are fine playing together. They already proved it. The nice thing is you can only stop one of them.

    This was always what I thought was the fatal flaw with the Bulls. As great as they were, they only had Rose. They had the defense, but they needed another scorer. They had none (Heat put LBJ on Rose and it was curtains). The Pacers don't have that problem. Not only do they have either Granger/George, they last have good supporting scorers in Hill and West.

    The Pacers have a stupid simple offense. They bring the ball up, get the ball to the wings and they go to work. George and Granger will simply go to work as they did before, only now they support each other versus Granger having always lacked a fellow scorer.

    Make no mistake, George's biggest fan is Granger. Granger's job just got a hell of a lot easier.
    I don't think it's an ego-thing. I am sure Granger and George get along and don't mind who does most of the scoring. This is a fit thing. In my opinion there's a big difference between the SF and the SG positions.

    Look, on defense George no longer needs to chase smaller, quicker guards past screens. When you're 6"10 I imagine it can be very difficult to keep up with 6"3 guys, no matter how quick you are. All that size adds weight.
    On offense George used his quickness to get past or free himself up from other forwards.

    Even though the Granger/George duo might bring a size and shooting combination that could be scary, Having Granger back at SF and George at SG could mess our ball movement. The current lineup had Lance, who's an above average ball handler for the SG spot and George who's above average for SF. But Bringing Granger back, who's a below average ball handler, could slow us down
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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    Quote Originally Posted by yoadknux View Post
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    I don't think it's an ego-thing. I am sure Granger and George get along and don't mind who does most of the scoring. This is a fit thing. In my opinion there's a big difference between the SF and the SG positions.

    Look, on defense George no longer needs to chase smaller, quicker guards past screens. When you're 6"10 I imagine it can be very difficult to keep up with 6"3 guys, no matter how quick you are. All that size adds weight.
    On offense George used his quickness to get past or free himself up from other forwards.

    Even though the Granger/George duo might bring a size and shooting combination that could be scary, Having Granger back at SF and George at SG could mess our ball movement. The current lineup had Lance, who's an above average ball handler for the SG spot and George who's above average for SF. But Bringing Granger back, who's a below average ball handler, could slow us down
    In the Pacers base, half court sets, they run a two wing offense. Lance's roll is simply a spot up shooter. There is absolutely no way the offense changes in the half court.

    I completely agree it could really effect things though. Absolutely. Lance helps push the ball up and is a huge part of the Pacers transition offense. This is undeniable and is something the Pacers will have to adjust to. I hope it doesn't have a major, negative effect on the Pacers offense. We'll see.

    But in the half court sets, there is absolutely no possible way the Pacers can do anything but be better. A lot better. (considering Granger's health). In the half court the Pacers play two wings and there is no difference in the 2 and 3 positions. The positions don't exist in the Pacers half court offense. They have two wings. (notably, Paul George is the primary ball handler at this point)
    Last edited by mattie; 01-11-2013 at 04:50 AM.
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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    Also, again, people haven't been paying attention. George has been defending, and he has been defended by two guards all season. Not all game, but the Pacers defense assignments at the wings has never been set. George's only roll is to defend the best wing, or even point depending on the matchup.

    Any two that has to defend George is a HUGE advantage for PG. He's also in the last month learned to take advantage of it. He has at times been stuck with smaller defenders and he's used his size to take advantage of them.
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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    People like the supposed difference between the two and the three. However, it is a myth. (though a specific offense could certainly define roles that require two different players at the wing positions)
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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    Quote Originally Posted by mattie View Post
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    People like the supposed difference between the two and the three. However, it is a myth. (though a specific offense could certainly define roles that require two different players at the wing positions)
    Right. There are certain offenses where there's a difference, but ours isn't one of them. It's a 2-wing offense.

    Do you guys remember how much we used to hate playing teams that had two wings that were both serious threats? Do you remember how much teams hated playing us when we had Reggie and Jalen? That's how it's gonna be for us if Granger comes back healthy.
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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    Are they true championship contenders this season? I don't know that yet. Have to see how Granger comes back. Will he be 100% before the playoffs? We know it typically takes him awhile each season to find his shot. Will he come back early enough that he has his shot ready to go by the time the playoffs start? Can Hibbert improve his offense a little? Can George Hill play like he did the first month of the season and can he stay healthy. Hill is a big key.

    Right now I would put the pacers right below the top 3 teams of Heat, Thunder and Spurs. (I realize Heat aren't playing great right now, but they will be ready to go for the playoffs). But if the pacers answer some of the questions I posed above positively, then they can be among the top 3 I think

  37. #23

    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    There are a few things that have been overlooked. One, Frank Vogel got that extension for a reason. It wasnt just about coaching without Granger. He's managed to coach our team defense up so good that when we need to lock it down, we can absolutely lock it down. Vogel has also been outstanding at halftime adjustments. He's coaching the hell out of these guys. He's managing a average bench and he's managing a rising star. The job Vogel is doing right now is fantastic.

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  39. #24
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    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Are they true championship contenders this season? I don't know that yet. Have to see how Granger comes back. Will he be 100% before the playoffs? We know it typically takes him awhile each season to find his shot. Will he come back early enough that he has his shot ready to go by the time the playoffs start? Can Hibbert improve his offense a little? Can George Hill play like he did the first month of the season and can he stay healthy. Hill is a big key.

    Right now I would put the pacers right below the top 3 teams of Heat, Thunder and Spurs. (I realize Heat aren't playing great right now, but they will be ready to go for the playoffs). But if the pacers answer some of the questions I posed above positively, then they can be among the top 3 I think
    The Heat may be technically ahead of us, but I don't think there is a team in this league that matches up better against the Heat than the Pacers, especially now that we have Mahinmi, and with Paul's and Lance's improvement.

  40. #25

    Default Re: The Pacers are true championship contenders and other thoughts (A follow up to my rant pre-season)

    In the postgame thread someone gave a link to the defensive win shares ranking at basketball reference.com

    Now I'm not arguing that it's the be-and-and-end-all of statistical analyses, but delving into the rankings a bit, you'll see that:

    The Pacers have 3 of the best 8 individual defenders in the league, George, Hibbert, West, so their starting 5 by that analysis has

    -the best defensive SF in the NBA
    -the 2nd best defensive C
    -the 2nd best defensive PF
    -the 3rd best defensive PG
    -the 3rd best defensive SG (Stevenson), who will go to the bench when Granger returns and moves Paul George to SG, and Danny is clearly a better defender (when healthy) at SF than Lance is at SG, and Paul is Paul wherever you say he's playing.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/..._asc=&offset=0

    Lockdown defense is not ugly, people.

    It surprised the heck out of me last night that even some media people other than Hubie Brown and Jeff Van Gundy demonstrated an appreciation for it.
    The poster "pacertom" since this forum began (and before!). I changed my name here to "Slick Pinkham" in honor of the imaginary player That Bobby "Slick" Leonard picked late in the 1971 ABA draft (true story!)

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