Posts Tagged ‘Pacers’

Many would agree that the Miami Heat will make it back to the NBA Finals. If you look at the Eastern Conference there are some roadblocks but those blocks may not be sturdy enough to contain the Heat. The Pacers have exploited their weaknesses over the past two seasons and now look like the favorite to beat them out of the East. Now when I say favorite, I’m only saying that they have beaten them in a more convincing manner than the other top teams in the East. With that being said I don’t expect to see LeBron James tweeting from home during the finals.

If Miami makes it to the finals I expect them to win. I know that they’re lacking size and depth up front but looking at the big’s on the top teams the only team that could pose a threat is the San Antonio Spurs with Tim Duncan and likes of “Tiaaago Splitter” like ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith likes to say. But recent trends have shown that the San Antonio Spurs will dominate the regular season and fall short in the playoffs. With that being said it’s hard for me to expect them to make it to the finals this season especially seeing how great western teams are playing this year.

The Oklahoma City Thunder has shown that they miss the presence of James Harden and along with that, missing a post player forces them to play a run-n-gun style constantly. Sure Perkins is a great defender but when he has to guard either Bosh or Shane Battier he’s forced to leave the paint further than he would like to, rendering him to almost being ineffective. Ibaka might have a good scoring output one game but don’t expect that to be a constant variable in a seven game series.

The Clippers are tricky. Sometimes I look at them and try to figure out how they even lose games then other times their weaknesses are too much for them to overcome. They have two strong athletic big men who can pose a threat to Miami but at some point not being able to fully get a post-game going can hurt them. Blake Griffin has an advantage on most power forwards in the NBA because of his speed. If they’re in the finals against Miami whoever is going to be on him, probably Battier and LeBron at some point, will be able to keep up with him. He can back people down but without true post moves he’ll basically be aiming for the backboard hoping that it goes in. True post players are now becoming extinct; either you’re a face-up player or an athletic slasher. But that’s an article for another day.


Memphis and Utah both have good big men that could start for any team in the league but they’re missing too much on the wings. Memphis just doesn’t seem to play with the same energy they had before the Rudy Gay trade and let’s face it; Utah won’t even make it out of the first round. Utah might not even make it to the playoffs with the Lakers right on their tail. Houston is also in that mix but unless they hit a ton of three’s like they did against Golden State for the remainder of the season and into the playoffs they’ll be sitting at home for the second round.

But let’s say the Heat don’t make it and a team like the Pacers can reach the finals or even the Celtics or Knicks can get over their struggles and turn things around. How would they match up against the over powered West in a seven game series? If you check Hollinger’s playoff odds for this this year a lot of the western teams have a shot at winning 60+ games. The odds show that the Pacers would finish second in the Eastern Conference with a record of 52-30, which isn’t bad but if they were in the Western Conference that would only be good enough for 7th place… 7th place. So can an Eastern team that isn’t the Miami Heat really be a challenge to a Western opponent? I know records are just more numbers but sometimes they are hard to argue with. Sure the Pacers can beat the Heat but how do they match up against teams like OKC and the Spurs who they’ve struggled with in the past.


Indiana’s game is inside-out. They attack the high post with David west and Hibbert is there to beat defenders with rare jump hooks and to clean up misses with put backs. Sometimes the wings get too carried away and forget about the clear advantages that they have in the paint. But a team like the Thunder would be more comfortable with that matchup because their big men can stay home a little more. David West is a hard cover for anyone but if you ask Serge Ibaka who he would rather be chasing around between possible finals forwards (David West, LeBron James, Shane Battier, etc.), without a doubt he would say West all day.

The Knicks have shown shades of being great and have shown that if Melo is off you can’t count on the supporting cast to pick up the weight. The main reason for their inconsistencies on the offensive end is because of their high three point attempts. “You live by the three and you die by the three” is a quote that seems to come out of every commentator’s mouth when talking about the Knicks. They don’t exactly have an all-around game on offense. They can get up and down with anyone but when it comes down to the stretch and you need easy baskets it’s hard for them to get.

Carmelo can get a last second shot to win a game but why even be in that situation where you need one. One thing I love about players like LeBron is how he can take over a game before things get too tight. When that clock is running down he’s already done his damage on both ends of the court so that when that clock gets down to just seconds remaining all they have to worry about is playing defense. The Knicks usually don’t have that option when facing a formidable opponent. This is a very dangerous team but their flaws can be dissected easily.

Yes Melo can hit a shot from anywhere on the court but when it’s late in the game you need easy buckets and often we see Melo put into a one-on-one situations with minimum off-ball movement from the other players. When he’s in the game his teammates tend to stand around and watch Melo go to work. In today’s NBA you need more than one guy as your focal point. Even if you have one amazing superstar player it doesn’t matter how much he scores; if no one else is contributing that team will never get close to a championship.

The Chicago Bulls are a team that has shown us a couple things. They’re excellent on defense and will fight you to the end. But with Derrick Rose being out for this long there’s no way they’re in the championship talk. If he comes back they’ll be a better team but it’s a little bit too late to try to piece things together and make an historic run. The Celtics are in that same category. Yes they have played better since Rondo has gone down but to make a serious playoff push without him is a bit farfetched. Barbosa is out as well and without these guys who can really push the ball the Celtics won’t be able to fully gain control of some games.

Early in the season it was even a question if they would make the playoffs or not but now we’re seeing a clear drop off from the 8th seed Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the conference. Boston will have to really stink it up to miss the playoffs and let the Bucks surpass them and to let a team like Detroit Pistons or Toronto Raptors in. But that just won’t happen. At the bottom of the Eastern Conference it’s not really a horse race. It’s more like three snails trying to keep up with tortoise. In other words it’s not too competitive.


At the end of the day I think we’ll see a repeat of last year’s finals. The Miami Heat will Face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder and they will dismantle them like they have done time and time again. The West will be Hell to get through and OKC will earn more respect throughout the league for doing so, but In the end they will just fall short. Their up tempo game is good enough to get past those western teams but getting in that type of game with Miami is exactly what they want. They will stretch them out on offense, then force turnovers and cause frustration on defense. LeBron James has shown us why he’s the best player in the league and having a shot at winning a consecutive championship will only motivate him even more. KD will have his turn but right now it’s clear that LeBron and company are just too much to handle.

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granger

Danny Granger made his first appearance of the year in the Pacers’ third meeting against the Pistons this season.  After shooting 1 of 10 from the field against their sub-par defense, as we expected,  he still has quite some time to fully get back into the swing of things. But I can say that I was pleased with some of the shots he took.  With time he will get back to playing like the Danny we’re all accustomed to seeing.

In his home debut against the Warriors the only thing that I was thinking about was the future of the team. After Paul George came down and knocked down a three right in the face of a defender and the production team cut to a view of the crowd all I saw was over joyous Pacer fans in #24 jersey’s.

The Warriors called a timeout and the look of confidence on Paul George’s face added fuel to the already ecstatic crowd. The more I look at Granger’s body language it’s clear that he knows his time in Indy is coming to an end and he’s not too happy about it. Once he gets more acclimated with the team things will be fine for the remainder of the year but i don’t see a scenario where he gets resigned. Maybe he’ll take less money but at this point who knows.

Many people are speculating when Granger will be put back into the starting unit. If it was up to me I would have a serious conversation with Danny and ask him about being a sixth man. The starting unit has built up a lot of chemistry together and so far it’s won them a lot of games. Offensively they struggle but the main issue is their bench production. I don’t think putting Lance Stephenson back on the bench to lead the second unit is the answer to your problems.

Paul George is blossoming into a star and splitting shots with Granger could slow down that development process. If Granger is coming off the bench with the second unit he will have more than half of the scoring duties with that scorer-less unit. Coming off the bench could be beneficial in many different areas for the Pacers. But that’s just my opinion on that. Coach Vogel has made it clear that at some point Granger will be back as a starter, just depends on the timing.

To throw a visual out there look at the lineup with Danny as a starter and you judge if having him come off the bench would be a bad thing.

Starters:

PG: George Hill SG: Paul George SF: Danny Granger PF: David West C: Roy Hibbert

2nd Unit:

PG: DJ Augustine SG: Lance Stephenson (With occasional minutes from Orlando Johnson) SF: Gerald Green/Sam Young??? PF: Tyler Hansbrough C: Ian Mahinmi

Or would you rather have Danny come in and score at will with that second unit that has deficiencies at the small forward position and a need for more bench scoring. If you look at championship teams in the past a lot of them had excellent bench production. The best example of that is the 2011 Dallas Mavericks. Even without Caron Butler in the starting lineup they still had enough bench production to defeat the Miami Heat in a tough series.

Sure you could leave Granger or Paul George in with the bench but having Granger with the second unit will allow both of them to have equal time to rest. Plus with Granger coming off a knee injury no one knows if he can defend elite players as well as he could before.

It’s clear that coach Vogel doesn’t have a lot of faith in Gerald Green seeing that he lost his minutes to Orlando Johnson and didn’t play for a stretch of nine games. Sam young is a tough defender who Vogel has no problem throwing on the opposing teams’ best player but offensively he’s a liability.

DJ Augustine has definently had his scoring woes all season and has yet to really prove that signing him was a good idea. There’s no one on that second unit that just pops out as a guy who can get the job done as the starters rest.

When it all comes down to it there’s no doubt in my mind that the Pacers will be fine. No matter where he is on the depth chart he’ll do more good than bad. I just see a sixth man role as being more beneficial to the team.

Having one of your best players come off the bench has worked for teams in years past like the San Antonio Spurs with Manu Ginobili and the Los Angeles Lakers back when Lamar Odom was playing at a high level.  It’s worked more recently with the Oklahoma City Thunder in last years championship run when they had James Harden. I can see this working for the Pacers if they were to do this.

If the Pacers’ front office knows that they have no intention on resigning Granger to a contract extension they should do what’s best for the team now.  If they had success with a Granger-less roster for 55 games  i see no problem with him coming in off the bench and giving a huge boost to that second unit. It may hurt his pride and take a shot to his ego but if he loves his teammates and the city of Indianapolis he should be willing to do whatever the organization thinks is best.

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In the Past few weeks I have been all for trading Granger, before that i was against it. Right now I’m back to being against it, kind of. If I go back and forth with my thoughts in this article it’s because this move could change everything. It could create a domino effect that I’m not sure we’ll be able to benefit from right away.

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As you all know, Paul George is becoming the new face of the franchise. He’s doing everything on the court that you could ask for. He’s scoring, rebounding, and has really found patience on the offensive end. Defensively he’s great too. But even with his scoring numbers up it’s still not enough to move the Pacers out of the 29th rank in scoring. Yeah… they’re close to dead last in points per game. Their record is truly a testament to how great their defense is rather than their offensive production.

With Danny coming back by the All-Star break it can only help them. When you’re the 29th ranked team in scoring there’s only room for improvement. Trading away a scorer and leader like Danny could be a bad thing. Also, lets not forget that he’s a good defender as well. There’s not many players on the market that can really fill his shoes and make an impact like he can. There’s talent out there but right now the Pacers need more than hopes.

If you trade Danny there’s no guarantee that whoever they get for him will stay in Indy. If a player does want to stay most likely they will want to get paid and the Pacers front office doesn’t just pay people for potential.

George Hill and Roy Hibbert got paid because they earned it. Hibbert may not be showing that this season but the fact of the matter is he show’s constant improvement and had the best season of his career. We saw how he can be a game changer.

The Pacers still have to resign David West at this moment no one knows what will happen with that. Next season they could lose Granger possibly and West. What will they have after that? Losing those two veteran leaders is a lot. But resigning both of them could be hard to do when you take salary cap space into consideration. Especially with this luxury tax coming into play for next season it will be hard for a lot of teams to keep certain players.

Bob Kravitz from the Indianapolis Star wrote a great piece on the Pacers being good but still having something missing. He feels that in order for them to really contend they will have to make some moves before this season’s trade deadline.

I agree with him when he says that they need a dynamic scorer off the bench, but at what cost?Would the Pacers even get enough back to have a great scorer off the bench? If they make a move it will either be hit or miss. I don’t see too many players with great upside going to Indy.

Just as Kravitz said in his article, move Tyler Hansbrough, and make Gerald Green available. I don’t agree with him when he says trade Lance Stephenson, but we can agree to disagree on that.

The one thing that we are both saying is keep Granger at all cost. Paul George is blossoming into a star but their leader is without a doubt still Danny. George has stepped up and took leadership as most players should do when the top dog is out, but the true leader of that squad is Danny. They’re close to contention and getting rid of Danny now would be a huge mistake

The Houston Rockets have been in all the trade rumors when it comes to acquiring Granger. Unless Houston is willing to let James Harden and Chandler Parsons go there’s no one on that roster that is worth trading for.

But we all know Harden isn’t going anywhere for a long time. I mentioned other players in my article, “Potential Moves For The Indiana Pacers“, but realistically there’s not a lot of available players that can replace Danny and all of his intangibles.

If i were Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers General Manager, I would do everything in my power to keep Danny a Pacer and resign David West. I would hate trade Tyler Hansbrough because of the hustle and energy that he provides off the bench but they need to win now. Leave the starting lineup together and move players off of the bench. Trading Danny is not the answer.

The Indiana Pacers: #BeatTheHeat  <-(Click Here For Highlights)

On February 1st the leagues top two defensive teams faced off. When the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat play it’s always a physical game. Even before last year’s Eastern Conference Semi-finals they had intense games. The Heat took the first two season meetings, the first one was a crushing victory. The second game was one in overtime with a last second shot by Dwayne Wade. Most people will say that the Heat didn’t win the game but the Pacers lost it themselves.

The Pacers exposed a lot of the Heat’s flaws. Everyone knows that Miami is not the best rebounding team and that they lack depth and toughness in the front court. David West and company attacked the low post almost every time down the court. When West feels Shane Battier on his back it was almost an automatic bucket from there. Through three quarters West only missed one shot.

Another player who played big was Lance Stephenson. He may not be a household name but he is a guy who will try his hardest to out-hustle you. He’s an in-your-face defender and it looked like Wade and LeBron were not fully prepared for that. Throughout the game you could catch the two complaining to the ref about the physical play of Lance. They also got ticked off by Lance’s steady trash talking after plays and when he slapped the ball out of LeBron’s hands just for fun. At halftime he and Wade both had similar numbers so he had to be doing something right.

Paul George had a bigger night than what his numbers showed. He may be an all-star but the way the Pacer’s offense is ran, everyone is involved. He didn’t force anything at all during this game. Even with LeBron on him he was able to pick and choose his spots. On the defensive end he was solid as well. He had one series that showed his versatility on both ends of the court. After hitting a three he instantly intercepted a pass as soon as the ball came across half-court. That steal lead to a euro-step past a defender and into a two hand slam.

At one point in the game it looked like Indy was about to blow the lid off of their lead. It almost got out of hand. You could see the frustration in all the faces of all the Miami Heat players and coaching staff. There were two trips down the court where LeBron was slamming the ball while he was dribbling. It was just a really bad night night for them.

The Pacers laid the blueprint on how to beat them. Going forward i’m sure that teams with large, skilled big men will expose these flaws down low. Although Hibbert was a non factor on offense people around the organization still have faith that he will turn things around later in the season. If he wasn’t in such of a slump that game would’ve been worse for Miami.

The heat are actively searching for an anchor in the paint. They have recently signed Chris Anderson, better known as “Birdman”, to his second 10-day contract. His play has been pretty promising for them. He’s very athletic and provides great size for a team that’s lacking it. Miami may not need a dominant player in the post game on offense but they definently need a guy with size that can provide toughness and rebounding. The way their offense is set up it’s mostly drive and kick, or pick and pop with Bosh.

Expect to see many more great battles between these two ball clubs in the future. I wouldn’t be surprised if these teams met in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pacers are headed in the right direction and the Miami Heat will be the team to beat for some time. Basketball is back in Indiana and it’s a beautiful thing.

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  Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last several months you know that Paul George has become the new go-to-guy for the Indiana Pacers. All of his stats are up and he also has more double-double’s this season than what he had in his first two years combined. So far he’s made his first all-star team and is the front runner to win the Most Improved Player of the Year Award. But all of this might not have happened if Danny Granger wasn’t out with knee tendinitis.

The front office and the people of Indianapolis have gravitated towards Paul George so what does this mean for Granger’s future with this organization? If you’ve ever typed in his name on twitter or even gone to a Pacer game you will know that the fans are not too fond of him. They feel that he hasn’t worked on his game enough to reach his full potential.. After his all-star season where he scored 25 ppg, the people expected him to continue to blossom into this scoring machine. But what they don’t know is that he only scored at that rate because of their former head coach’s (Jim O’Brien) system. His shot attempts were way higher in that system than what they are with coach Vogel.

With pieces falling into place for Indy who is expendable? Will they resign David West or make a move for the best available option? DJ Augustine has been a bust of a pick up for them and at one point he lost the back up point guard position to rookie Ben Hansbrough. DJ was suppose to provide energy and scoring off the bench but just hasn’t produced like they would hope.

I can see the Pacers making a package deal with Granger, DJ, and maybe West (Depending on if they want to give him a contract extension). But who could we get in return? Could they make a move for Indiana native Zach Randolph? Memphis has been cleaning house to avoid penalties from the luxury tax next season. After acquiring Ed Davis, a young big man with a promising future, they could decide to eventually move Randolph.

Some other people who have been in trade talks are J.J. Redick and Aaron Afflalo, Avery Bradley, Monta Ellis, Nick Young, Thaddeus Young, Andre Iguodala, Marcus Thornton and Vince Carter. When the Pacers get rid of Granger they will most likely move the 6’10 Paul George from shooting guard to small forward. Lance Stephenson is a capable guard but he’s no starter. They will nedd help at the shooting guard position.

J.J. Redick is a great shooter and hustles on defense but other players that I’ve named would make more sense. Monta Ellis would give the Pacers that instant offense that they’ve been missing for quite some time but the downside to Ellis is his attitude. At times he can be hard to please. His on-ball defense can be sketchy at times as well. He can get steals in the passing lane but more times than none you’ll get burnt from taking that risk.

Then there’s Nick Young and Marcus Thorton. Young isn’t consistent enough nor is he a defender that Coach Vogel would have confidence in. Lance Stephenson would take his starting spot before the season even starts. Marcus Thorton is a guy who can flat out fill it up. I can see him fitting in well with this current roster.

Vince Carter and Thaddeus Young are two other guys who’s names have been floating around also. The Pacers will not make a move for Vince Carter, that should be a given for obvious reasons. Young is very doubtful to me as well. He’ll bring more size and athleticism which is a good thing but it’s not really needed as much as scoring.

The next player would be a great fit but would be a risky trade, that player is the “Poor Man’s LeBron,” Andre Iguodala. He’s one of the most athletic guys in the league and also has good offensive skills, but consistency has been a problem for him this season but we all know what he can do when fully engaged. But the one part of his game that separates him from the other guys that I have named is his defense. He is for sure one of the best defensive guys in the league and if he isn’t feeling it on offense he’ll most likely always be solid on defense.

There are plenty of other names that have been floating around but as far as the Indiana Pacers go i say that these guys make the most sense for their roster needs. Granger most likely will not be traded this season because of his knee issues but anything could happen. I know for a fact that he will not be wearing the Pacer blue and gold for much longer. He will have to play at his absolute best when he returns if he wants any hope of staying in Indy.

George Hill: I love what Hill brings off the bench. He brings many different things to the table. Not only can he get open for a spot up jumper but he can also create his own offense when needed. He shoots 42 percent from the three point line and shoots 48 percent from the field. Numbers wise i wished he’d bring more scoring and assist to the team. He gets 10 points per game and one assist. He plays 24 minutes per game and the numbers he’s getting doesn’t really reflect that. On the other hand the Pacers do have six players in double figures so the 10 he’s getting now is just enough.

David West: At first it was obvious to me that he came here just for the money. Even on his Twitter account he had his location as “Indy…”. The three dots say a lot. But now as the team is coming into their own and being relevant it seems like he’s enjoying his time with this young up and coming Pacers team. He evened changed his Twitter location from “Indy…” to “Indy!!!”. I love seeing him in the pick and roll game with Collison. There’s a lot of easy points coming from this duo. Then the depth at the forward position is great. Hansbrough is without a doubt one of the best sixth men in the league. Hansbrough is no push-over so when West goes out of the game we’re not losing much production.

Paul George: Paul George gets better and better every game. He’s shooting the ball well and he’s giving the Pacers versatility on both ends of the floor. He can guard point-guards all the way to the small-forward position. On offense he’s not quit yet an offensive nightmare but he does bring some  match up problems for certain teams. I see great things to come for George. I can’t wait until he taps into his full potential. There’s a lot of upside to this young Pacers guard.

Tyler Hansbrough: I’ll be the first one to tell you that i wasn’t to pleased when the Pacers drafted him. I thought he’d turn out to be like Adam Morrison to be flat-out honest. I didn’t think his game would translate to the NBA game. He proved me wrong. He is the perfect example of  your “blue-collar” athlete. He shows that with hustle and hard work you can be successful. He’s one of the toughest players that I’ve seen play for the Pacers. I have a ton of respect for what he does night in and night out for this organization. He’s our garbage man. He cleans up around the rim with his offensive rebounds and put backs. Also he’s just flat-out frustrating to play against. Ask KG, ask Amare’ Stoudemire. They can’t stand the guy. Tyler will go out there and out hustle whoever it is he’s playing against.

Danny Granger: He’s having a down year statistically but I’m not to worried about it. I’d rather have him have lower numbers and win than have him put up 26 to 28 points per game and lose. He struggled a lot early on from the field but in the last few games he has put up big scoring numbers but he’s more efficient and that’s great for him. I expect his shooting percentage of 35 from the field to raise before the all-star break. Look for him to post up more and to get more involved in the running game. At the end of the day Danny Granger is Danny Granger and we know what to expect from him.

Roy Hibbert: I’ve studied his game since the first day we drafted him. He’s definently one of the most improved players since his draft. He used to be soft and somewhat timid when he went up against some elite centers and bigs known for great defense. Now he’ll take it to anyone. I watched their game against the Lakers last week and he played his heart out. Him and Andrew Bynum were having a physical warfare out there. Hibbert showed me that he’s not going to choke in crucial parts of the game down the stretch. Last season there were articles judging him on being timid and weak-minded at the face of adversity but throw all that out the window now. He has coaches that believe in him and a ton of Hoosiers in the state of Indiana that have faith in him as well.

Darren Collison: I’m loving how smart he’s playing this season. He only averages five assist per game but if basketball took into account hockey assist he’d have way more than five, I can guarantee that much. Also he’s taking smarter shots. Last season i used to cringe every time he put up a shot but this season not so much. The pick and roll option with Hibbert and West get him open for more easy mid range shots. On top of creating offense for his teammates he can use his speed to get to the whole at will. He’s usually faster than half the point-guards he faces. He creates so many opportunities for others to be successful. That unselfish play is the key to the Pacers success and it all starts with him.

NBA Scramble

Posted: January 9, 2012 in Uncategorized
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    To me this year the NBA seems wide open. Other than the Miami Heat there’s no other teams that i see being championship ready. The Dallas Mavericks show glimpse of looking good enough to make it there but then their age shows some nights. You never really know what you’re going to get from them.  The Chicago Bulls look good but i’m not too sold on them yet. I believe they’ll make it to the Eastern Conference Finals and face the Heat but i’m not sure if they’ll get passed them. That series could go either way but i’m leaning more on Miami. 

    OKC looks good right now. I think that whole Westbrook taking shots away from KD talk should stop now. I think they’ve finally figured out how to play good as a unit on the offensive end. OKC is going to be one scary team to face come playoff time. Last year they were close to making it to the finals and this year they might actually get there. If there was any season to take over the Western Conference this is it. The “powers that be” (Lakers, Spurs, Mavericks) are coming to an end as being serious threats and other teams in the west are just too young to really make it through a tough run in the playoffs

    The east is interesting. The Heat and Bulls are two obvious finals favorites but the other teams in the east are definently not push overs. The NY Knicks can’t play defense but they still have Carmelo, Amare’, Tyson Chandler and a decent young nucleus. You can’t look past that. Then you have the Boston Celtics. Although they’re getting old and have a shortened bench they’re still a hard team to get past. They’ll go as far as Rajon Rondo can take them. 

    The Pacers look good as well. For the first time in a while no pacer is in the top 50 in scoring. But this isn’t bad. Multiple times this year we’ve had 6 players in double figures. The offense is no longer just ran through Danny Granger.Even Though Danny is having the roughest year of his career his teammates are playing great despite of that Right now they have a winning record (6-2) and that’s what it’s all about. I’d rather win from a team effort than lose and have one star player kill. Winning is all that matters. Everybody on the Pacers is unselfish. Thats what i like to see when i’m watching basketball. Unselfish play will take you far. Expect for the Pacers to not only make the playoffs but look for them to be higher than a 8th seed.

   The Orlando Magic, and the Atlanta Hawks are not two teams that i’d keep my eye on. Orlando is going through too much with this Dwight Howard situation. That’s too big of a distraction to play good through. even with him i don’t see them doing much anyway. Atlanta is going to be…. Atlanta. Just a middle of the pack team that lacks a star. (No…Joe Johnson is not a star) Joe Johnson puts up nice numbers but i look at him as a guy who’s a great scorer that would benefit better if he was a second option. Josh Smith puts in work every night but it’s still not enough.