COLUMN: Pacers Shaping Up for a Good Season
by Baron Medsker
October 29th is a day for all basketball fans in Indiana to mark. The Indiana Pacers open up the regular season against the Orlando Magic at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse at 7 P.M.
Unfortunately, the Pacers are a shaky 2-4 in the preseason including two conference losses to the rival Chicago Bulls. They also lost to Dallas and Houston.
They did, however, win in blowout fashion against the Cavaliers and Hawks at their arenas.
Back to the regular season, Indiana basketball fans should want to go to the game on October 29th for a couple of reasons that include the Pacers are playing, and Indiana University graduated guard Victor Oladipo will be making his NBA debut.
The Pacers will be a team to watch this year with key additions in ex-Suns forward Luis Scola, guard C.J. Watson, and sharpshooting forward Chris Copeland from the New York Knicks.
“I think Luis Scola will play a key role coming off the bench. I think he’ll do a good job of picking up what Hansbrough could not do,” senior Matt Walker said.
Solomon Hill from Arizona University will also be in a Pacer’s uniform this year making his debut. He is expected to be an exquisite defender off the bench with his amazing length.
The starting lineup this year is projected as George Hill at point guard, Lance Stephenson at shooting guard, all star Paul George at small forward, ex-all star David West at power forward and ex-all star Roy Hibbert at center.
The Pacers are a lethal team in the East. Their newly acquired depth at all positions and consistent play make them title contenders.
“Because going back to the first year they made the playoffs a couple of years ago, they were eliminated the first round, then the next year they were eliminated in the semi-finals, and last year were eliminated in the conference finals. We’ve also improved our bench which was our biggest weakness, and got Danny Granger back,” senior Keith Kassen said.
They are the only team with a true chance to defeat the Heat because of two things: size and aggression.
While they did lose some of their aggression with Tyler Hansbrough going to Toronto, Luis Scola more than makes up for it.
As far as pure talent goes, Paul George is looking better than ever in the preseason with 17.4 points, nearly eight rebounds, and four assists per game. The 2012 all star has another goal in sight aside from becoming an NBA champion and becoming an all star again.
Paul George in an interview with John Schuhmann, he said that his goal is to become the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, which is very possible considering he averaged nearly two steals a game, and six tenths of a block per game in the regular season.
He was also able to provide comparable defensive numbers in the postseason, averaging a little less in the steals category but keeping his block average constant.As the days count down, basketball fans become more and more excited for the NBA to start back up. Hopefully, the Pacers will be able to repeat what they did last year in making it to the Eastern Conference Finals, but instead winning and moving on to the NBA Finals where hopefully, they can grab a championship.