Everyone in the NBA world remembers the breakaway season the Indiana Pacers had in 2012-2013. The Pacers were one of the most pleasant surprises in the Eastern Conference, especially during the playoffs. Frank Vogel’s group was able to smash any opponent and reach the Conference Finals. They would have made it to the NBA Finals unless LeBron James and his company worked their magic to beat the Pacers in seven games. Now, almost a month prior to the start of the 2013-2014 season, the Indiana Pacers look ready to make another strong push for a championship. This time, they are more powerful.
Indiana needs to do keep close attention to some aspects of its game order to get better and be more successful next season. First of all, they need to stick to their habits on the defensive end and retain their top-level of play. Roy Hibbert and David West will be the twin towers that will have to continue and lock down the paint. Just as they did during the previous season, the two big men will have to effectively avert opposing penetrators and secure the boards. These two important aspects of their game will allow the rest of the players play tight defense on the perimeter.
The Pacers do have some very capable defenders. Paul George has emerged as a solid defender. His size, his long arms and his athleticism give him the opportunity to hold off opposing wing players. Danny Granger will also be back to add yet another strong presence in the perimeter.
On offense, the Pacers simply have too many weapons to choose from. Paul and George will be the two main threats in the perimeter. However, the Pacers will have to find a way to split the attempts between the perimeter and the big men. Last season, Indiana was able to dominate in several games because of the supremacy of Roy Hibbert and David West against teams that lacked size and bulk inside. In 2013-2014, they will have again to run a big portion of their offense throw their big-man duo. Hibbert prevailed in the air against smaller centers. West on the other hand, used his craft and his post moves to produce.
One thing the Indiana Pacers will have to be smart with is bench utilization. The Pacers made some smart moves during the offseason. Luis Scola, Chris Copeland and C.J. Watson all will be upgrades at the bench, in comparison to the previous season. Add Lance Stephenson, who was assigned with a starting job last season due to Granger’s injury and you have a complete bench. Head Coach Frank Vogel will have to find the recipe to split the minutes effectively between the starters and the bench. Almost any of the players on Indiana’s bench have shown that they can be productive and efficient if they are given they are given a chance. That’s why it’s important for them to build confidence in their new surroundings. The Indiana Pacers do have all the potential to make it all the NBA Finals this season. They will just have to exploit all their weapons the best way.