Backdoor Cut: Indiana Pacers 2010 Season Preview or Why is TJ Ford still on the team?!?

Time to preview the 2010 Indiana Pacers

Music to listen to: Whip Appeal by Babyface

As much as I would like to put The Cougar in this post, the fans have spoken and want some Babyface instead.

Last season/offseason changes: The Pacers finished last year with a record of 32-50 last year, which doesn’t make them horrible but not good enough to consider making major plans to play in the postseason.

The bigger issue has been the ineffective point guard play that the team has had in the past few years. Between T.J. Ford, Jamall Tinsley and Earl Watson, neither one has been able to efficiently run the offense well.

The Pacers are trying to solve this issue with the addition of Darren Collison. I’ll get to him in detail later.

Indiana did lose Troy Murphy, who was the best rebound specialist on the squad and one of its top perimeter players.

Strength: The good news for the Pacers is that they have a reliable scorer in Danny Granger. He’s going to get points and at least give Indiana a source of offense when all else fails. We’re not ever going to see him become a lockdown defender or top passer but his overall skill set fit’s the team well. His numbers may actually improve with the addition of a decent point guard.

Weakness: The departure of Murphy leaves a big hole on defense and rebounding. This will place more pressure on center Roy Hibbert. He was productive when he was on the court, even averaging nearly 17 points and nine rebounds per 36 minutes. However, he only reached that mark a handful of times and he started nearly 70 games last year. If he can stay out of foul trouble and improve his conditioning, he can be a major factor in the conference.

Most important player: Collison has to play at an All-Star level for the Pacers to compete for the playoffs. He had some good moments filling in for Chris Paul in New Orleans but in Indiana, he’s going to have to be the leader of the offense.

I can also make a case for forward Tyler Hansbrough being in this category as well because of Murphy’s departure.

Celebrity crush from the city: I couldn’t decide between Catt Sadler and Vivica Fox. Both are winners.

Coaching: Jim O’Brien hasn’t done a great job but hasn’t been terrible either. What this means is that he hasn’t distinguished himself as a coach with the Pacers and if you asked most NBA fans who the coach of the Pacers is, I would venture to say that less than 50% would be able to name O’Brien as the coach.

First memory of team: As a Knicks fan, Reggie Miller was the biggest enemy in my sports life. I used to despise that man with a passion for many reasons. Here’s the biggest one. Still have a hard time watching this, brings back some bad childhood memories:

Best case: The Pacers run and gun their way to the final playoff spot.

Worst case: The defensive and rebounding liabilities are too much for the team to overcome and a playoff bid doesn’t happen.

Uniform grade: Despite my distain for Reggie Miller in the past, I always liked the blue and gold look. Grade: B+

Overall outlook: I don’t think that the Pacers are going to make the playoffs at this time but they will be a more efficient unit on offense but will give up too many second chances on defense. I also worry about their perimeter shooting but other than that, things should be outstanding in Indianapolis.

Those are my thoughts, what about yours?

2010 Backdoor Cut Previews:

Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics

Toronto Raptors

Philadephia 76ers

New Jersey Nets

New York Knicks

Central Division

Cleveland Cavaliers

Detroit Pistons 



Those are my thoughts, what about yours?

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