Chomping at the Bit- The Indiana Pacers
Kudos to Pacer management for overhauling a team that suffered through the malice at the Palace. The team’s culture has been re vamped and what we have now is a culture that is both professional and serious. Big credit to Larry Bird and to basketball lifer Donnie Walsh. Solid player selection and incremental development led to the eastern conference power that the Pacers have become. The team, as tough mentally as they are physically have played the Miami Heat almost even in successive seasons. Pacers brass have seemingly discovered that precarious balance between talent and character exemplified in the selection of players like Paul ( on the edge of super stardom ) George and Roy Hibbert.
Adding David West to a nucleus of Hibbert, George and a returning Danny Granger was the right move at the right time. Guards George Hill and Lance Stephenson provide stellar defense and open court play on offense. In one of the best moves of the off season the Pacers acquired Luis Scola to shore up a bench sorely in need of shoring up. The Argentinian is extremely skilled, savvy and an excellent passer to boot. It also looks like C.J. Watson and Chris Copeland have finally found homes. This team is tough, very very tough and a title could be in the offing if only it weren’t for…….
The Pacers are young talented and hungry but the only edge and I mean( razor thin) that the Heat had over them was experience, and some cat named Lebron. The Pacers pride themselves on a brand of basketball they affectionately call smash-mouth. However the Heat and that “Art of War student, Pat Riley have successfully used the Pacers aggression against them. In successive seasons the Pacers have succumbed to well planned and thought out hard fouls by the Heat that have served to keep an inexperienced Pacer team off balance. Technically the Pacers guards have to do a better job in the half court in terms of penetration,decision making and ball distribution. In George Hill and C.J. Watson the Pacers have essentially the same player. Going forward though, with experience, chemistry and the growth of Paul George some of the most deserving fans in all of sports may get what they have been waiting for.