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Indiana Pacers ’09-10 NBA season preview

By 10.26.09
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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TAGSDahntay JonesDANNY GRANGERDimeMagEarl WatsonJARRETT JACKJeff FosterJermaine O'NealLuther HeadMARQUIS DANIELSMIKE DUNLEAVYPeja StojakovicREGGIE MILLERROY HIBBERTSTEPHEN JACKSONTJ FordTroy MurphyTYLER HANSBROUGH

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