Leading up to the opening of this shortened NBA season, The Crew put together a roundtable discussion about the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers look like a young team on the rise coming off their playoff showing last season. I posed three questions to each Crew member and they will be showcased in a 3-part series leading up to the blue and gold’s opener against the Detroit Pistons on December 26.
Question #3: What are your predictions and expectations for the blue and gold this season?
Thad Vandeventer: Personally I am very excited about this team as I know many others in Indiana are. After suffering through several lean years and starting to see some signs of life last year, this is the year the Pacers get back to winning. The additions of Hill and West are a big part of this but also the growth of the young core of players that they have had. I see the Pacers battling in the second tier of the Eastern Conference (behind Miami, Chicago, and Boston) with Orlando, New York, and Atlanta. The Pacers should battle for home court advantage in the playoffs but I see them coming out with the 5th seed behind Orlando if Howard stays with the Magic for the whole season. The Pacers have more winners than the Knicks and are deeper. Atlanta has had their chance to improve and did not so I see them taking a step back. The next step for this team is getting to the playoffs and winning a series and I think they get that done this year before being eliminated by the Heat in round 2.
Chris Kosiak: My predictions for the Pacers this year are simply another playoff push and here are the playoff matchups:
Bulls vs Bucks (1-8) Heat vs Hawks(2-7) Celtics vs Knicks (3-6) Pacers vs Magic (4-5) Round 2: Bulls vs Pacers Celtics vs Heat
Confrence Finals Bulls vs Heat….Bulls. So that being said I see the Pacers winning a playoff series and giving D Rose all he can handle…This playoff plan is contingent on Dwight Howard still playing for Orlando. If Howard is in Orlando then I’ll keep Indy at 4 but if he gets traded to NJ or someone else in the east this is thrown out the door. So we shall see what happens.
Chris Marcum: Larry Bird and David Morway were smart with the cap space fans have been craving for years. Vogel is the right leader to lead a young, scrappy team that pushed the #1 seed Bulls farther than they ever thought the Pacers would last year. If West regains his form and Hibbert, Paul George and Collison continue to develop the Pacers will be at worst the 5th seed in the East. If Danny Granger tries to do too much it could hurt the development of the young talent and the Pacers might move him by February. He might be moved no matter how he plays. The youth, depth and up and down style of the Pacers are going to be a huge benefit in a shortened season. The seats in Conseco are going to be filled and fans are going to get Boom Baby v2.0.
: My predictions for the Pacers this year would be a 5-6 seed in the NBA playoffs and close to 35 wins in the 66 game season. Looking at the rosters the Pacers probably have the 5th
best team, and may be one of the deepest teams in the east. I foresee Atlanta and the Pacers battling for that fifth seed all of this season, baring catastrophic injuries on either side. I figure the Pacers will finish 2nd
to the Bulls in the Central Division, and depending on who they draw in the 1st
round, would expect them to be able to win the first round matchup, and bow out in the 2nd
round to the Bulls, Celtics, Knicks, or Heat. That type of playoff performance would be a nice building block for the Pacers, and a step in the right direction toward building a championship contender.
Bret Shipman: I think the Pacers are moving in the right direction. Vogel is a quality coach. They didn’t overspend on questionable free agents, and their young core of talent is developing nicely. Hopefully they’ll have the funds to acquire Eric Gordon when he hits the market in the near future!!
I think the Pacers will build on last years success and definitely make a repeat playoff appearance. 3-5 seed in the East is very obtainable for this team.