Indiana Pacers Season Preview 2012-2013

Posted: October 4, 2012 in sports

This season will be one that will show us how strong the core of the Pacers really is. With the emergence of George Hill as the starting point guard late last season the Pacers traded Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones to Dallas for their backup center, Ian Mahinmi. That trade would be the start to a series of roster change.

During the off-season the Pacers picked up center Miles Plumlee, out of Duke, with the 26th pick in the draft, and traded draft picks to the Sacramento Kings to receive rookie guard Orlando Johnson.

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With the departure of Collision to Dallas and A.J. Price to Washington, they needed to find a backup point guard. They found the right guy for the job in D.J. Augustine from the Charlotte Bobcats.

Next the Pacers acquired 2007 Slam Dunk Champion, Gerald Green. After his first stint in the league he bounced around the world playing in different leagues, trying to develop his game and grow, not only as a player but also as a person. He hoped to return to the NBA better than before.

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Last season he made his return, late in the season, with the New Jersey Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets). The short time he was there he had a flurry of electrifying dunks, and one, that by many people, was considered the dunk of the year. Hopefully he will continue to grow as both a player and a person in Indy.

The next player is Lance Stephenson. I know you’re all thinking “wait, he’s been on the roster for a few years now.” Which is true, but now he will actually have a role that requires more than having his butt in a seat. With losing Leandro Barbosa to free agency, and trading Dahntay Jones to Dallas, that leaves Stephenson and rookie Orlando Johnson as the backups at the shooting guard position.

When Larry Bird was in charge of the day-to-day operations for the Pacers, he always said that he likes Stephenson’s game. It’s a new year; he’s wearing a new number (#1). Maybe this year he won’t just be famous for making choking gestures towards LeBron James and will be more known for what he can do. Only time will tell.

The last players to get picked up are point guard Sundiata Gaines, and forward Sam Young. I’m not too sure on how much they will use Gaines but I do expect Young to get playing time. He’s an excellent all-around defender. He can guard wing as well as post players and offensively he brings more speed and athleticism to the pacers roster.

The core of the roster is still the same. The starting lineup is the same five that were the starters during the second half of the season last year. Indianapolis native George Hill will start at point guard, his G2-Zone partner Paul George is at the shooting guard, the captain, Danny Granger at small forward, Big David West will provide veteran leadership as he will start at power forward in his second year with the team. Then finally, after coming off of his first All-Star appearance in 2012, Area 55’s Roy Hibbert will be the center holding down the middle.

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I think that the Pacers will regret not resigning Barbosa. He was a veteran who brought craftiness and reliability to their second unit. I wish that they would have used Dahntay Jones more also. He’s one of the best defensive guards in the league and he deserved more minutes. With Barbosa gone I feel like Jones would’ve came up big for them this year.

Another issue that was partially address was the lack of athleticism along the front line. They have size, which is good, but there’s no hybrid big. Mahinmi adds athleticism but he’s not who will use it to his advantage. Plumlee is deceivingly athletic but I’m not sure how much he’ll get used because of depth needed at other positions. The Pacers really need an athletic, quick power forward who’s a “garbage man.”

Set aside the lack of athleticism up front and the question mark on the bench for their shooting guards. The Pacers will have a lot of production from their starters. This may be the year where everything comes together for Paul George. Granger still has the ability to return to his All-Star form. Then Hibbert gets better every season.

I expect this team to run differently on offense than they did last year. They should feed the ball into the post more. Rather it be West or Hibbert, that ball should be fed their first. The starting unit that they have will definently be more of a half-court team. I don’t see them getting out on the fast break as a main part in their scheme. Without Collision they really don’t have a speedy guard that can push the ball with aggression.

With Derrick Rose expected to be out for most of the season, I don’t see any reason to why the Pacers can win the central division. We pretty much know what to expect from the Bucks, Cavaliers and Pistons. With Rose out there’s no obstacles in their way.

Since the Bulls are not expected to do much of anything this season, that leaves an open spot at the top of the Eastern Conference. Miami will definently be number one in the conference at seasons end but the Pacers have a shot at getting that two slot. Boston has a ton of good new pieces but they’re just that, “new.” They still have to mesh with each other. Same thing goes for the Brooklyn Nets. They have a ton of fire power but they still have to get chemistry with each other. The Knicks probably have the biggest question mark above them in the conference. They’re full of stars but often look pitiful. They’ve tried to address their lack of defense with adding Jason Kidd, and Marcus Camby, but I’m not sure how good that will turn out for them. They also signed Rasheed Wallace and no one really knows if he can still play at a championship level.

The Pacers have talked about contending for a title all summer. They feel that they’re one step away from making it to the finals. They took the Miami Heat to six games last year in the playoffs, and at one time, had them on the edge of elimination. The Pacers organization wants to keep moving forward with this core group of players. It’s been a long time since the Pacers were loved in Indy, and they feel that now is the perfect time to get those seats in Banker’s Life Field House filled. There’s a lot of buzz around the city, let’s see if they can live up to the hype.

Here’s a video link to the Indiana Pacer’s season preview on nba.com: http://www.nba.com/video/channels/nba_tv/2012/09/24/preview-20120917-pacers.nba/index.html

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