Sep 25, 2013, 8:49 AM EST
The Pacers took the eventual champion Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals a season ago, and reloaded with plenty of reserve talent this summer.
External expectations for the Pacers are at an all-time high, but it’s no different within the organization. Larry Bird believes the team is poised to compete for a championship as early as this season.
Larry Bird doesn’t play around. He doesn’t soften expectations, doesn’t keep goals artificially low so he can say at season’s end, “See, we overachieved.” So the question was asked of the Indiana Pacers president just a few days before the start of training camp Saturday.
“Does this team have the potential to win a world championship?’’
He never blinked.
“Yes,” he said. “We’re all in.” …
“Anything less than (a Finals appearance or a conference finals appearance) would be a disappointment,” he said. “I think anything over 50 wins is a good season, but I believe we’re built more for the playoffs than we are for the regular season. Because we’re deep and we’ll have time to prepare. It’s hard to beat 10 or 11 guys.”
When Phil Jackson coached those Bulls and Lakers teams to a total of 11 NBA titles, he never coached game-to-game; he always coached each minute as if he was looking at an overview of the entire championship season.
That seems to be what Bird is suggesting here — just get through the regular season as a top-four seed, and prepare your players, schemes, and rotations for the two-month grind of the postseason.
The Granger question is the one of most interest to the Pacers entering the season. If he can coexist with Paul George and fit into Indiana’s team concept, he’ll likely stick around. But if Granger isn’t a match for a team that’s been transformed during his injury-forced absence, it’s quite possible that he could be dealt at the trade deadline for players who could immediately help contribute to Indiana’s championship cause.
Nov 24, 2014, 5:31 PM EST
Well, at least Howard tried.
Nov 24, 2014, 4:45 PM EST
Things are not coming together as quickly as some expected in Cleveland.
Nov 24, 2014, 3:50 PM EST
This would make three Lakers players out for the season with injuries.
Nov 24, 2014, 3:44 PM EST
The bottom of the rankings are pretty obvious, the top harder to put together.
Nov 24, 2014, 3:08 PM EST
It’s in the hair
Nov 24, 2014, 2:33 PM EST
Former No. 1 pick facing felony battery charges
Nov 24, 2014, 1:55 PM EST
Bulls point guard says he’ll return tomorrow against the Nuggets at the latest
Nov 24, 2014, 1:17 PM EST
Pelicans guard dealing with yet another injury
Nov 24, 2014, 12:38 PM EST
Rockets without their two best defensive players
Nov 24, 2014, 11:38 AM EST
Trail Blazers star keeps elevating game. Will he ever level off?
Nov 24, 2014, 10:50 AM EST
Oklahoma City point guard throws down on Warriors
Nov 24, 2014, 10:14 AM EST
Do you prefer the original or the emulator?
Nov 24, 2014, 9:35 AM EST
Utah would reportedly send Jeremy Evans and Toure’ Murry to Brooklyn
Nov 24, 2014, 9:04 AM EST
Rockets center has missed last two games after plasma therapy on knee
Nov 24, 2014, 8:30 AM EST
Memphis can offer more money than anyone else, but Gasol will have options.
Nov 24, 2014, 8:00 AM EST
Wes did Gallinari wrong.
Nov 24, 2014, 2:36 AM EST
Few teams have been more of a let down so far this season than Charlotte.
Nov 24, 2014, 1:24 AM EST
Tony Allen has a little playground in his offensive game.
Nov 23, 2014, 11:00 PM EST
He is 0-for-13 in the Nets last two games.
Nov 23, 2014, 9:30 PM EST
This is funny. Cold, but funny.
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- Damian Lillard, as stature grows, refuses to become content 4
- PBT’s Sunday Night NBA Winners/Losers: You may want to try and cover Marc Gasol 9
- Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: “We want him to be 100 percent” for the playoffs 11
- Report: Free agent market for Jeff Green is as strong ‘if not stronger’ than it is for Rajon Rondo 20
- LeBron James: “We’re a very fragile team right now” 55