As many of you know, I write for a Pacers site over at Fanball. You can read my stuff at PacersPlace.com. As part of my 2009-10 NBA Preview posts, I wrote one about the Pacers that can be found there. I have copied it here on my site too and here is the 2009-10 NBA Preview for the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers have barely missed the playoffs the last few years, could this be the season when that streak ends? Danny Granger is a stud, but could he possibly win the MVP award? Troy Murphy is coming off the best season of his career, can he keep up those numbers this year? Can Mike Dunleavy make a comeback from his knee problems? Can Tyler Hansbrough, Brandon Rush, and Roy Hibbert take the next step and become legit NBA stars?
Additions/Subtractions – There are quite a few new faces on the Pacers this year. They did well in the draft when they picked up Tyler Hansbrough and A.J. Price. They were both winners in college and this team is starting to be filled with players who excelled in college. The lost Jarrett Jack and Marquis Daniels via free agency, but they picked up Luther Head, Dahntay Jones, Solomon Jones, and Earl Watson to fill their roster. They look to be a better defensive team than they were the last two seasons.
2009-10 Expectations – They have been the 9th best team in the Eastern Conference the last few seasons, but they look to change that this year. They have been in a transition mode since Reggie Miller retired. Indiana has been lucky that they haven’t bottomed out like many teams have during their rebuilding process. Head coach Jim O’Brien has played an offensive style that has fit this team and he should get the credit for the Pacers not falling completely into a void the last two seasons. Larry Bird could be on the hot seat this year if the team doesn’t improve on their record from last year, but the roster has nearly turned over completely the last three seasons. This team has a lot of former Wooden Award winners on it and it’s nearing time that many of them to mature and reach their potential. Danny Granger came into his own last year and he may even get better. If the Pacers end up in the playoffs, it will be because of his play. If he has a bad year, the Pacers could be one of the worst teams in the league. They look to him for leadership and production.
2009-10 Prediction – I look for Granger to be a possible MVP candidate and he will make the All-Star team. Tyler Hansbrough, Roy Hibbert, and Troy Murphy will be a nice three man rotation at the PF/C positions. It’s time for Hibbert to really show the league what he can do. Brandon Rush will improve, he had a pretty good last two months of the season last year. Mike Dunleavy is dealing with an nagging knee injury. He had surgery on it, but had a setback. He should be back at some point near the beginning of the season, but it could be a lost season for him. The Pacers will make the playoffs, but it could be as a #8 seed.
2009-10 Win Total – 38-44