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NBA / Oct 26, 2009 / 6:59 pm

Indiana Pacers ’09-10 NBA season preview

T.J. Ford

T.J. Ford

Last year we debuted the “Highs and Lows” system — previewing the NBA season by predicting the respective ceiling and basement for each team. Same theme, different season…

Added: Tyler Hansbrough, Dahntay Jones, Earl Watson, Luther Head, Solomon Jones

Lost: Jarrett Jack, Marquis Daniels, Rasho Nesterovic, Stephen Graham, Maceo Baston

Ceiling: 8th seed, Eastern Conference
The Pacers haven’t made the playoffs — or finished above .500 in the win-loss column — since Year 1 of the post-Reggie Miller era, when the lineup was headlined by Jermaine O’Neal, Stephen Jackson and Peja Stojakovic. Only two players remain with the franchise from that team: Jeff Foster and Danny Granger, a.k.a. the fan favorite and The Franchise. Granger was a rookie on that ’06 playoff team; now he’s a superstar, and this is his year to get Indiana back to the postseason. He’ll get his 23-28 points a night, hit a bunch of threes, and make some game-winning plays along the way. As long as Granger stays relatively healthy, the Pacers don’t have to worry about their Alpha Dog biting them in the ass … Troy Murphy snuck up on everybody by finishing second in the NBA in rebounding (11.8 rpg) and doubling as one of the League’s most deadly three-point shooters. There’s no surprise factor this year and you’d think teams would start to watch film and not give up those wide-open long balls, but he’s still a positive for Indiana … Second-year pro Roy Hibbert was a star throughout summer league and preseason and will have every opportunity to become the low-post anchor this year … Although Mike Dunleavy Jr.‘s health is still a question mark, the backcourt is actually more stable. Two-guard Dahntay Jones was acquired to help Indiana’s leaky defense and can start while Dunleavy gets his knees right, and T.J. Ford doesn’t have to worry about gunning to keep his job since Jarrett Jack is gone.

Basement: Competitive Lottery team
As much as I’d like to be biased for my favorite team, some realities have to be acknowledged. The Pacers stunk on defense last season, and while Granger (and the rest of the team) verbally committed to improving in that area this year, not much beyond the Jones signing hints at that actually coming true … The offense will put up points, but will also have to work a little harder having lost Marquis Daniels (a fanastic off-ball player) and Jack (a scoring PG) … While Hibbert can score, his rebounding is inconsistent and he gets in foul trouble like an Eastern Conference Greg Oden … Granger, Dunleavy and Ford are always health risks. And even when Ford is fully healthy and isn’t fighting for his job, his decision-making and shot selection can often be maddening.

*** *** ***

10/26 — Philadelphia 76ers
10/23 — Dallas Mavericks
10/23 — Washington Wizards
10/23 — Minnesota Timberwolves
10/22 — Utah Jazz
10/22 — Orlando Magic
10/22 — Phoenix Suns
10/21 — Charlotte Bobcats
10/21 — San Antonio Spurs
10/21 — Miami Heat
10/19 — Oklahoma City Thunder
10/19 — Milwaukee Bucks
10/15 — Portland Trail Blazers
10/14 — Chicago Bulls
10/13 — Golden State Warriors
10/12 — Toronto Raptors
10/9 — Houston Rockets
10/8 — Detroit Pistons
10/7 — Memphis Grizzlies
10/6 — New York Knicks
10/5 — New Orleans Hornets
10/2 — Atlanta Hawks
9/30 — Sacramento Kings
9/29 — New Jersey Nets
9/28 — Denver Nuggets

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  • control

    “and T.J. Ford doesn’t have to worry about gunning to keep his job since Jarrett Jack is gone”

    It maybe just me, but it’s TJ’s gunning that would make me want to trade him and/or bench him. Ain’t no reason a 5’10 guy who is as fragile as he is should be driving and jacking every single possession, it’s silly. When he was on the Raps, I sometimes watched him do that and was actually hoping he’d land on his neck or something just so Jose could come back in…

  • Kobeef

    A few things about the Pacers make me think they could be this year’s version of the Bulls (team nobody thought would be in the playoffs, but made an appearance in the first rond):

    – Roy Hibbert is a surprisingly capable NBA player. I never imagined he would be this good, but he’s OK and could be better than Murphy at the 5.

    – Dahanty Jones and Brandon Rush are great defensive swingmen with complete games. In Jones, Rush and Granger the Pacers have a solid young trio of swingmen.

    – Nobody respects Josh McRoberts or Tyler Hansborough, but both are smart, tough players who can back-up or replace Troy Murphy.

  • Josh Tha roc

    i think you mean hibbeasts rebounding is ‘inconsistent’

  • Promoman

    I think Indy made a mistake trading Jarrett instead of T.J.. If you have to ax a person to make someone else feel secure in doing a job that they can’t/won’t do adequately in the first place, then you’re asking to be in a world of shit. Hell, we saw T.J. fight on national television because he couldn’t be the center of the universe not even a year ago. Even Iverson, Marbury, and all the other assholes in the NBA didn’t pull that. He’s transformed into a cancer since his Milwaukee days ended and with his talent and ability it’s a shame.

  • SJ

    Agree with Promoman. The Pacers should have dropped Ford instead of Jack. I don’t know how many times Ford would have the ball in the 4th with not much time left and f*** things up. And I’m still pissed about them picking up Hansbrough in the 1st round. He would easily have fallen to the second round and been available for them. I’ll still support the team, though, and it up some games. If Granger can be more of a leader, I can see the team going places.

  • I.Dot

    Y’all forgot abbout AJ Price, who they took in the 2nd round of the draft. He played good in summer league and presason. Watch out for him.