Sometimes it's nice to stop analyzing EVERYTHING with this team and just enjoy the ride.
Too many things can happen to suggest we are contenders right now. If we are healthy come playoffs then we may be. However one thing in our favor is: The wing rotation will be Granger, George, and Stephenson. That should cause major headaches to any opposing coach to sit up nights trying to figure out how to match up. All can shoot, defend, and handle the ball!
We were tied in either the 4th or OT. We were sitting in our time out and Frank was drawing up a play. The ENTIRE TIME OUT, Danny was in Paul's ear. (I obviously don't know what he was saying) Paul gets the ball, but ends up passing the ball and we throw up a prayer (by Lance I do believe) at the buzzer. When Paul is walking back to the bench, the FIRST person to meet him? Danny. And Danny is telling him, "you've gotta shoot that, you've gotta shoot that"
Watching their relationship on the court, I think Danny looks at Paul like a lil bro. You genuinely feel that he WANTS Paul to do well.
Also take note: Danny's BEST years was when he was playing alongside another perimeter scoring threat (pre-knee injury Mike Dunleavy) Paul is better with the ball, Danny is better off the ball.
Last edited by Ace E.Anderson; 01-11-2013 at 12:01 PM.
Funny how this board has flipped since the beginning of the season. I remember defending the team and saying they would turn things around and basically being called a moron for believing that by a large number of people. There were only a few of us openly expressing hope and optimism in those days.
Look at the team now. Lookin pretty good. I do agree that we're a contender..... I don't know if we're the favorite, though. We've made huge strides and our defense and rebounding are awesome... but come playoff time, guys like LeBron and DWade turn their game up several, several notches. I still think Miami is the actual favorite in the East, but Indiana will once again give them a run for their money and might even come out on top depending on how we look once Granger comes back, Hill stays healthy, and Hibbert figures out what the hell he's doin offensively.
There are two types of quarterbacks in the league: Those whom over time, the league figures out ... and those who figure out the league.
Are we a contender? Well we are top 3 and closing, so I have to say yes. But Heat will be the favorites as they should be. If Lebron flips the switch again in the playoffs they will be close to unbeatable yet again.
Paul George is becoming a star because Paul George decided to become a star. Period. Sure, maybe he doesn't make that decision with Granger on the floor. Maybe that 0 point game doesn't mean as much at that point, but I don't believe it. At the beginning of the season Paul owned the fact that the Pacers would rise or fall based on his development. He said at the beginning he wanted to be an All-Star and that meant he had to be more aggressive. One way or another he had to take over, and Granger being out just made it less complicated.
I agree with Mattie. Paul and Danny have already played together and played well. In fact, I still think our team last year was better than this one so far. And what was everyone saying about our team last year? "They've got everything in place except they need a star." So in a month we might have that same team back together except WITH a rising star. But people are already talking about breaking them up before we get to see them play. IF you trade Granger, do it next year at this time. You've got to at least give them a shot at playing together.
Frankly I don't see the problem anyway. It's not like Danny needs to be a ball-dominator. His game always amazed me because it seems like he's not doing that much offensively, yet he ends up with 25 points. If he comes back and plays well, they won't have trouble playing together.
Last edited by MnvrChvy; 01-11-2013 at 12:01 PM.
That's exactly what I keep thinking whenever the thought pops into my head that the Pacers could represent the East in the Finals this year. There are way too many things that can still go wrong between now. Danny might not be able to make it through this season and the playoffs and as the team stands now, I don't think they could beat the Heat 4 our of 7 times in the playoffs when all the bright lights and pressure is on them to do it. I think they could possibly beat NY because of how old they are but Carmelo is next to unstoppable as a scorer. He's on a Kobe/Durant level and a notch above Lebron, IMHO as a scorer.
So I guess I'm just going to not get carried away with the championship contender talk. If it happens, I'll be overwhelmed with joy. If not, I wouldn't be surprised because the veteran teams like Boston, Chicago, NY, and Miami will all play better come time for the playoffs to begin.
That is why I don't like having a match-up with Miami in the playoffs on the early rounds because they just have that "alter ego" mode that suddenly wakes up come playoff time, or when their backs are against the wall. In the regular season they are one of the top teams, yes, but they look weak. Come playoff time, they suddenly dominate the competition at some point in the series. Nobody expected that the Heat vs Thunder match-up will turn out to be a lopsided competition.
But I think the key weakness of Miami is that when things get physical and slow, they just can't get the rhythm easily. It was very evident in the Mia vs Ind and Mia vs Bos in the playoffs. Somehow, if the current style of play by the Pacers can be improved further come playoff time (defense and dictating the slow tempo), I will surely expect that series to turn in the Pacers' favor.
So, now the Pacers have a young Scottie Pippen without the attitude problem!
And, they have a young Dikembe Mutombo without as much overall toughness (which could yet develop) but with a huge desire to be better!
And, they have an older Antonio Davis with less hops but just as much toughness!
And, they have two combo guards (one who may be a young Jalen with more defense and IQ, and one who we hope will become Chauncey Billups once his basketball skills and maturity fully catch up to his swagger)!
And, they have a coaching staff with a combination of style and substance which really has not been seen before from what I can remember (not even the combos of the Bird - Carlisle - Mike Brown years were like this one)!
And, they have Danny Granger who may or may not be a significant factor when he comes back. If he is mostly healthy, he will likely be used to "space the court" by being a perimeter shooter and sometimes slasher, and will be a space filler on defense. The Georges should mostly be able to cover for his defensive shortcomings, and both Paul and Roy should benefit from Danny's perimeter game offensively.
Contenders? One day, quite possibly soon!
In the meantime, this is truly all the sweeter due to what the franchise, its ownership, staff, players, and fans have been through. This is a franchise that has now been built the right way!
In 49 states, and for 29 other franchises, it is just basketball...but THIS IS INDIANA!!!!!!!!
I love D and I am very pleased with our line ups.
Our starting five is among the best in the league.
Our second string is rounding out nicely too.
We need more scoring, somewhere.
If only we had access to a real good vet 3 to replace Green.
A guy wuth good size and defense who knew our system and could be a
twenty point threat every night.
He could replace Lance and improve our starters but I would perfer that
he bring some steady leadership and anchor the second unit. He could ake all
the shots he wants and blast holes in the weaker defenders of the others teams
Clearly that guy is Danny Granger.
I think we will see him in exactly that role next month.
I could see him scoring as much as ever with a high usage rate with the back ups and
take his time rounding into shape. When the playoffs come we will have experimented
enough to know which rotations work best and starters and finishers will sort themselves out.
It's a great problem to have!
We will be contenders.
There is no one we just could not beat.
If (as is likely) we do not quite get the jewelry then in the offseason, mostly for
financial reasons, we will likely swap a vet...DG for either an Eric Gordon type of SG or the
heir apparant to D West.
We will also continue to mature, improve our team work, ball handling, shooting
(especially at the line), and be contenders for the forseeable future.
Thank you Mr. Bird!
Last edited by solid; 01-11-2013 at 01:01 PM.
"Nobody wants to play against Tyler Hansbrough NO BODY!" ~ Frank Vogel
"And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen. "
Want your own "Just Say No to Kamen" from @mkroeger pic? http://twitpic.com/a3hmca
We aren't contenders right now.
Defense alone doesn't win championships. You need offense. When Granger comes back, if he's 75% himself, and the team adjusts positively. (Which it should. Granger and Paul are a good fit together. )
Granger comes back, our offense gets better, our defense gets better, and our bench gets better. We also have two guys willing to take clutch shots and are capable of making them in West and Hill.
Championship contenders? No, maybe in the future but no now.
Some people are a little too quick to try and serve crow. I don't remember a team that ever won a playoff series in January, let alone a title.
We are playing better than I thought we could, and realistically I don't even mean the team is as much as Paul George is, and the team is riding that. I'm happy for PG, I'm excited for the team, and hopeful that our list of ifs - if Hibbert earns his contract, if West can bring it in a playoff series, if DG comes back healthly and playing well, IF - a lot of things need to go the right way to enabling us to being scary for Miami. Let's also not fool ourselves here. If PG slumps back, if Roy continues to be useless offensively, if West continues to look dogged and tired and can't find his shot, if DG is never the player he was again, then this little January run isn't going to look like much.
Miami in round 2 is not Miami in January. We are still a team of ifs. I'll take my crow when I earn it, but I certainly have not yet.
I don't mean to dampen the mood, but the fact that we're 2 games back of #1 means that we're still only 3 games up on the #8 seed. We're fine as long as we continue to win, but we've been winning at an ~80% pace the past few weeks. Not to say that I think we will revert, but I think we will level off a little bit and snug into a 65-70% winning rate. Also, I've believed all year we are championship contenders, and we are. We were last year, and we still are this year. You don't even have to add the qualifier "when healthy" because all teams have that same qualifier.
I still wouldn't pick anybody to take 4 out of 7 against Miami, but I don't think there is any reason for the Pacers not to be considered a legitimate threat to keep them out of the Finals.
Last edited by Mackey_Rose; 01-11-2013 at 02:34 PM.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think W's over a complacent MIA team and a NY team without Melo means that we should be banking in on a finals appearance. But that doesn't take away from the fact that we have rebounded VERY well after a horrid start. It doesn't take away from the fact that Paul George has all of a sudden become a very confident player. It doesn't take away from the fact that we are a GREAT defensive team. And lastly, it doesn't take away from the fact that this core still fairly young and will continue to grow and mature.
Now are we the pre-Rose Baby Bulls/Joe Johnson ATL Hawks--consistent 2nd round fodder? Or are we closer to the OKC Thunder, only we're an elite defense as opposed to an elite offense? The answer is: WE DON'T KNOW. But whatever we are the fact remains that the journey from JOB Ball, to the CHI 1st round exit, to last years playoff run, to now has been FUN AS HELL to be a fan of. If you cant appreciate the ride for what it's worth, and be objective both on the positive and the negative, then you can expect posters to tell you to "take your crow" when you're wrong (saying there was no way we could beat MEM, predicting we'd lose 10 games this month, etc)
To me the juicy part is thinking that TPTB might be asking themselves this question. If they truly believe that we're close to actually contending, then it puts us into the competitive red-line area: we should be even more urgent in trying to make any move(s) we can to improve this season. Clearly, awaiting Granger's return is reason to take a wait-and-see approach ... but such patience, imo, must be balanced with feverish efforts to add another win-now piece. I imagine that the team is PRAYING that Granger can contribute by February, in part to give them a final glimpse of what/who that extra piece should be before the trade- & end-of-season-signings deadlines.
I disagree with the idea that every team has many ifs. There is only one if in Miami, for example. If Lebron is healthy. That's it.
I'm not saying there isn't reason to be excited, but I am saying it's JANUARY. Giving us the title, or even a finals appearance, now is silly to the point of being little more than a young boy's fantastical daydream. Our wins over Memphis, a coasting Miami, and NY minus Melo (and yes, that matters, Melo means more to them than any player means to us, that's just how they are constructed) were all pleasant surprises, but they aren't the proof y'all want them to be. Take a breath, enjoy them, but don't take it as a sign we're going to win 60 games and cruise to a title. You'll end up less upset that way if/when later this month we have a 3-5 game skid.
As much as it feels good to be recognized as a good team by the media and your peers, this Pacers team has played it's best when they are the underdog and they are slighted by other teams or the media.
I don't want them to lose their swagger but I also don't want them to get lost in it either.