Monday, November 29, 2010

Change of Pace

Remember back in the days, when pacers had fades, gazelle shades, and corn braids? Remember Ron getting splashed? Remember how many times you watched JO 1-punch that fat pistons fan into obscurity?? I do. It was a lot.

As fun a night as that was, what it lead to can only be described as miserable. Record long suspensions, a roster of head-cases and a big man whose body aged faster than his mind lead to a gradual, but disgustingly obvious downward spiral, ultimately landing them in lottery limbo. Not good enough for the playoffs, not bad enough for a top pick and not attractive enough a spot to attract big name UFAs, Pacer mgmt nearly lost their world-class fan base to local HS ball.

But like the opening line suggests...
things done changed.

Despite not having a top 5 draft pick since they drafted
Rik Smits at #2 in 1988, the Pacers front office has managed to build a roster that has a lot of people taking notice. From a fantasy perspective, they came into this season touting a first round talent in Granger (Drafted 17th overall in 2005... right after the Raptors invested in Joey Grahm) and a potential sleeper PG in Collison (aquired in four team trade giving up Murphy, who has been injured, and is coming off a career year, and may suck) and C in Hibbert (acquired from TO in the JO trade). But realistically, few people were projecting them to be a legit playoff caliber team, even in the weak eastern conference.

Don't let their underwhelming 8-7 record fool you, they've been going hard. They're coming off a very impressive win in LA vs the Lake-show, they blew out the Nuggets and the Heat and took care of business when they faced Charlotte, Philly, the Clips and Cleveland (twice in two weeks... im not going to pat them too hard on the back for these wins). Their losses came at the hands of the Spurs, Bucks, Rockets, Hawks, (76ers), Magic and their most recent loss came in OT vs the Thunder. Thats pretty damn tough...Russel Westbrook what the fuck. Their average margin of loss was 9 pts, ignore the inexcusable 26 pt loss to Philly, and it drops to 6. As long as they keep beating the bad ones (they're going to face a lot of them in the East) and play the good ones tough, they'll be there come playoff time.

So far this season, they've shown a clear intention to make post play a major part of their offense (with Hibbert operating effectively out of the high and low posts). Add to that a smart back-court with tremendous passing abilities (Collison is squeaky polished and Dunleavy is a coach's son), and the result is that they're getting everyone on the court involved and not demanding too much out of any one player. The climax of this potential was on display during the record quarter against the Nuggets.

With significant contributions from not only their big 3, but also from glue guys like Brandon Rush, TJ Ford and Mike Dunleavy this team will be fun to watch the rest of the season and into the playoffs.

No comments:

Post a Comment