Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011-2012 NBA Preview #18: Indiana Pacers

Okay, I've saved the best for last... and by "the best" I mean "the one I care the most about"...

Roster Breakdown (Starters in Bold)
  • PG - Darren Collison, George Hill, AJ Price
  • SG - Paul George, Lance Stephenson
  • SF - Danny Granger, Dahntay Jones
  • PF - David West, Tyler Hansborough, Louis Amundson
  • C - Roy Hibbert, Jeff Foster, Jeff Pendergraph

General Thoughts

This is really, really nice team that no one outside of inner NBA circles is talking about. With the overhaul of the roster, this is suddenly a team with an extremely strong top 7 (the starters, Hill and Hansborough) with valuable depth guys like Amundson, Foster and Jones. There are no glaring weaknesses, and that's half the battle. I've always been a fan of both Collison AND George Hill because they both defend, don't kill you in any facet of the game, and provide steady enough play. I like Hill as the bench guy because of his size and ability to play a little 2-guard, and that was a heady trade for them. George and Granger form an extremely long, athletic, and talented wing tandem. One of the random notes of the off-season is that Paul George reportedly grew in the off-season (Dunleavy-style) and now is listed at 6'10. By the way, he's the starting shooting guard. If George can improve on his 3-point numbers (just 30% last year) and spring board off of a nice performance down the stretch (playoffs not withstanding) last year, that'll be nice for them. Up front, they swooped in and stole David West at 2 years, $20 million right when it seemed he'd be headed to the Celtics. I absolutely love this move, because they got him at a decent price thanks to injury, and they have the insurance of a guy like Hansborough to limit West's minutes a bit in this shortened season. Also, I think they can play Psycho T (lol) at the 5 a bit to spell Hibbert, and with the savvy trade of Brandon Rush (who was going to be buried) for Amundson, that's yet another athletic guy who plays hard. Roy Hibbert mans the middle, and after a strong start last year, he hit a bit of a wall, and they need the 1st-half Hibbert to make this ranking viable. The bottom line for me is that everybody on this team plays HARD. The only guy with a single motor question is Hibbert, but with professional scrappers like Hansborough and Amundson, it's the perfect team for that market.


Hibbert. He's unquestionably the key to success for them because he's a legit 7-foot-2 and with a limit on the guys who can handle his size, he's an x-factor. In last year's wins, he averaged 15 points and 8 boards on 52% shooting. In last year's losses, that slipped to 11 points, 7 boards and 41% from the field. It doesn't get much simpler than that, right? I think you know what you're getting from Collison/Hill/Granger/West/Hansborough, and while George is a question mark, they aren't relying him in nearly the same fashion that Hibbert is being relied on. Step it up, Roy.

Predicted Finish

5th in the East

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