Indiana Pacers (2008/09 Season Record: 36-46)
Key Additions: Dahntay Jones, Earl Watson, Tyler Hansbrough (Rookie)
Key Losses: Jarrett Jack, Rasho Nesterovic, Marquis Daniels
There isn’t too much to say about the Indiana Pacers. For the past three seasons the team has been a bubble team – not winning quite enough games to make it into the playoffs while winning too many to secure a high lottery pick. The team has also been unable to sign a decent free agent in years and is capped out till 2011 when Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy Jr., TJ Ford, and Jamal Tinsley all come off their books. Till then it appears Indiana fans will be getting more win totals in the mid-30s.
Mike Dunleavy Jr.’s return to the Pacer’s lineup, after missing all but 18 games last season, has been seen as one ray of hope for Indianapolis. Dunleavy had scored a solid 19 points per game in 07/08 and some believe that he’ll be a nice complement to All Star Danny Granger. I personally don’t believe that the return of Dunleavy will affect the team’s win total. His scoring will probably come at the cost of a few of Granger’s shots and will probably only offset the dip in production the team will see from its reserves with the loss of Jarrett Jack and Marquis Daniels. Plus Dunleavy isn’t exactly an elite defender.
The loss of Jack may hurt this team more than any other. With no one to push the often out of control TJ Ford for minutes this team is going to see a drop in production at the point guard position. Who is Jim O’Brien going to turn to for some starts when Ford starts sulking mid-way through the season? Earl Watson?
The front court doesn’t look any better with the “fine” Troy Murphy paired up with a platoon of stiffs in Jeff Foster, Roy Hibbert, and Josh McRoberts. Seriously, when your major front court acquisitions are Solomon Jones and Tyler Hansbrough, you can’t expect much from the four and five positions.
I imagine that, under third year coach Jim O’Brien, this team will play at a lightning quick pace but still rank as a slightly below average offensive and defensive team.
Get ready for another 13th pick come June, Indianapolis!
2009/10 Predicted Season Record: 37-45