2012 NBA Playoff Postmortem: Indiana Pacers

Danny Granger and the Indiana Pacers got cut off
by the malevolent Miami Heat.
(image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Nobody expected the Indiana Pacers to be among the top three teams in the East at the end of 66 games.

That spot should’ve been up for grabs among the Orlando Magic, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, and even the Atlanta Hawks.

Not the Indiana Pacers.

But somehow, some way, they were able to quietly slide into third spot on the strength of an unheralded roster.

Heck, they were but two games away from the Conference Finals!

It was, for all intents and purposes, a great season in Indianapolis.

Still, that might not be enough to guarantee any amount of success next year.

Roy Hibbert, George Hill, Leandro Barbosa, and Dahntay Jones might all bolt and play elsewhere, UNLESS Indiana rolls the dice.

Roy Hibbert is a must-re-sign piece if the Pacers
want to continue improving their stock.
(image by the AP)
Match any offers on Hibbert and Hill.

Make Barbosa a juicy offer.

Pick up the option on Jones.

And spend whatever is left on getting a top-grade PG.

Last I heard, Deron Williams and Steve Nash are both available. Either one has enough skills to jettison Indiana’s overachieving tag, and either has more than enough star value to make those season tickets sell like hotcakes. It’s a no-brainer to make a play on either of these guys.

But Deron might stay in Brooklyn, or go to Orlando because of Dwight Howard, or go to Dallas because of hometown ties.

But Nash might stay in Phoenix, or go to Dallas because of Dirk Nowitzki, or go to Toronto because of home-country ties (nah, that won’t happen).

Or either might go to Miami and sell out like so many have done.

In case any or all those things happen, there are still some possibilities.

Make a play on Kyle Lowry, or Goran Dragic, or DJ Augustin, or Mo Williams, or Jeremy Lin, or Eric Gordon.

Just get a step-up PG because, really, that’s the only thing missing.

Hibbert and David West are solid. Ditto with Danny Granger and Paul George.

Despite exiting with a 3-game losing streak, Paul George and
the Pacers can still look back on a great season.
(image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Tyler Hansbrough, Hill and Barbosa are spitfires off the pine.

Darren Collison is fine, but he won’t get this team going the way a top-tier playmaker can. I mean, 4.8 assists per game with an All-Star Center, a 2012 Slam Dunk contestant, and three All-Star appearances between West and Granger? That just won’t cut it.

Cut Collison. Package him with one or two more expendables (that Lance “Mr. Choke” Stephenson seems like bad news), and get an upgrade at the 1.

Do that, Larry Bird (oh, yeah, re-sign with Indiana first), and nobody will be surprised if the Pacers land third (or even higher) again.
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