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PBT Extra: Just how good are the Indiana Pacers?

Nov 13, 2013, 6:50 PM EDT

While a number of other teams considered contenders (Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles Clippers) have stumbled a little out of the gate the Indiana Pacers have raced out to an impressive 8-0 start.

Kay Adams and I talk about the impact of Lance Stephenson on the team, what to do with Danny Granger (I think he needs to be a sixth man) and if they can start 15-0. That last one is a long ways off but not impossible.

  1. progress2011 - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    Miami’s ONLY chance of beating the Pacers is if Oden can:

    1. Get and stay healthy
    2. Control Hibbert by keeping him out of the paint
    3. Protect the paint

    Otherwise Hibbert will DOMINATE Bosh again and it could get ugly for the Heat if LBJ doesn’t score 50 pts a nite while getting a triple double.

    • kinggw - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      You sound foolish. If the Pacers couldnt beat a Heat team where Allen and Battier were missing open threes, Wade was on one leg, and most of the calls went their way, why should we expect that to change a year later?

      The Pacers have gotten out to a great start but so did the Knicks last year? How did their season turn out? Its a marathon, not a sprint. Let the Pacers grab the early season accolades. The Heat will be ready for the games that count.

    • antistratfordian - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:57 PM

      People act like the Pacers beat the Heat the last two seasons and not the other way around. Miami obviously doesn’t need Oden to beat the Pacers.

      Hibbert’s version of “dominating” is not very dominant. He can only do so much. Look at him this year: 9.9 PTS, 8.8 REB, 46% FG. Meh. Good thing he’s blocking shots or the only block we’d be talking about with Hibbert is the trading block.

      In the playoffs vs Miami the last two years big Roy has averaged: 17.6 PTS, 10.9 REB, 1.7 BLK, 52% FG. Hardly anything to write home about.

      The Pacers are going to lose much more sleep over the fact that LeBron is averaging 29.4 PTS, 5.6 AST, 8.9 REB on 51% FG on them over the last two postseasons. That’s how you DOMINATE. And how are the Pacers going to stop the L-Train? They can’t.

      So they were going to have a hard time just dealing with James. Now Wade is lighter and healthier and you add Oden and Beasley to the mix (yes, thy Beasley of an early 35.5 PER)? It’s not going to get any easier for Indiana.

      • bougin89 - Nov 14, 2013 at 10:05 AM

        “Now Wade is lighter and healthier and you add Oden and Beasley to the mix (yes, thy Beasley of an early 35.5 PER)”

        19:39 seconds of Beasley’s total of 32 minutes played this season came in a blowout win over my dreadful Bucks.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 14, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        You know your boy Beasley is the league leader in PER (35.57) for all players averaging at least 10 minutes a game.

        Basically, all that means is that he’s been listening to Bron Bron’s guidance, has been very efficient and productive with his time and is so far (obviously) exceeding expectations.

        Everyone would agree that Beasley has a ton of talent – that was never in question – he just couldn’t get out of his own way, and it seemed like he never would. But that appears to have changed.

      • bougin89 - Nov 18, 2013 at 11:37 AM

        My only point was almost 2/3’s of his minutes in his first 3 games came in a complete blowout loss against a pretty terrible team.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:54 PM

        Well that game wasn’t a complete blowout when he was making a difference in the first half (he scored 7 points in 6 minutes when it was still a game). But you can take that game out entirely if you want to – he’s been great in every game this year regardless of that.

        From his very first minute against Toronto, to him leading the group that closed out the Bobcats this weekend – every minute he’s been on the floor he’s looked like a new player.

      • bougin89 - Nov 18, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        OK…

      • bougin89 - Nov 14, 2013 at 10:07 AM

        Whoops. Scratch seconds. Replace with minutes.

      • davidly - Nov 14, 2013 at 10:36 AM

        Not that I hold hard to the Hegelian dialectic or any facsimile thereof, but the comment and response from progress2011 and antistratfordian are an extreme version of the thesis anti-thesis combo. That is, there is something to what they are saying, but…

        Firstly, to state that the Heat have some hill to climb, that the odds are stacked against them is quite the exaggeration. The only part that is true is that it is a challenge to win a championship and that the Pacers are an improving challenger.

        Likewise, to say that Hibbert’s performance in the conference finals is somehow pedestrian–using a comparison to this generation’s most dominant player, no less–is downplays certain basketball realities.

        The synthesis in this equation would be that a Pacers/Heat match-up come playoff time will be even more competitive, compelling–and if ProBasketballTalk posts are any indicator–probably even more contentious.

        One thing for sure: Even if Indiana ends up with home court and is headed into Miami up 2-0, I ain’t gonna be poppin’ no corks.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 14, 2013 at 3:44 PM

        “Likewise, to say that Hibbert’s performance in the conference finals is somehow pedestrian–using a comparison to this generation’s most dominant player, no less–is downplays certain basketball realities.”

        You’re reaching there. Hibbert’s production was impressive FOR HIBBERT. He averaged 17/9.9 in the playoffs overall and 22/10 against Miami. Neither are very impressive. The way people talk about how Hibbert “dominated” the Heat you would assume he was putting up Shaq numbers – but he wasn’t even close to that. More like Elton Brand numbers.

        The main point about LeBron’s production is that the Pacers have more to worry about with Miami than visa versa.

        And you want to talk about “basketball realities” – Hibbert’s low ceiling is one of them. There is only so much damage he can do offensively. Miami doesn’t have to worry about him scoring 25 points in a half like Tim Duncan.

        Miami is probably more concerned about Luis Scola’s impact off the bench – because that is an unknown. But the Heat has their own set of unknowns for the Pacers to worry about.

      • davidly - Nov 17, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        You choose to talk about production. I am talking about performance. There is more to a performance than production, e.g. defense.

        I point out your comparing Hibbert’s performance to LBJ’s as being absurd because comparing anyone to LBJ is absurd, save for legendary figures like Jordan and Robertson. Consistent career performances that have been recorded by the likes those players are indeed more productive than anything Hibbert has produced in a single game even, let alone a game in a playoff series. Nevertheless, I believe that saying that Hibbert’s playoff performances are nothing to write home about is a simplification of basketball realities.

        Maybe you wouldn’t write home about it. But many sports analysts have written about their impact, including many former players who know a thing or two about basketball realities.

        As far as what Indiana or Miami expect of concerns themselves with whenever they meet: That’s not really anything I addressed in my comment. My only point was that the series–if it happens–will be tighter, assuming the health of the teams.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 19, 2013 at 10:41 PM

        “Nevertheless, I believe that saying that Hibbert’s playoff performances are nothing to write home about is a simplification of basketball realities.”

        Yes, you’ve said that already. But you’re only talking about perceptions, not realities. The perception is that Hibbert “dominated” the Heat inside – I’ve heard that said here over and over again. This is only a wishful expression of the collective yearning of the “Beat the Heat!” public. They put all of their hopes into almost ANY big man of an opposing team – and if that player does moderately well against Miami, he “dominated” them. And when Miami has to face that player again, these people act like Miami should be afraid of him. That’s been the case with Hibbert, Lopez, Chandler, Garnett, Howard, Noah, etc. They rarely consider the significance of the fact that Miami has dispatched with guys like Hibbert and Garnett and Noah multiple times in the playoffs – in Hibbert’s case neutralizing him in all of the biggest games.

        Yet – this idea (nay, desire) that Miami “needs” Greg Oden is still out there. Nonsense.

        So, you’re just misguided here. It really was nothing to write home about. Trust me. I won’t lead you astray.

        “Maybe you wouldn’t write home about it. But many sports analysts have written about their impact”

        That’s fine. Many sports analysts are dead wrong. This is not uncommon.

    • progress2011 - Nov 14, 2013 at 1:46 AM

      kinggw….respect your elders!

      To deny an obvious weakness is “foolish” !

      The numbers speak for themselves….Miami is at the bottom of the league in most EVERY critical areas involving the paint….don’t believe me, like I tell my children that also have problems with reality at times, research it for yourself:

      Let me be clear, I have supported Miami. But I am grown enough to admit, they have a soft under-belly. It has been exposed previously but Miami has been able to overcome with their scrappy defense and overall dominant athleticism.

      To deny Miami’s soft middle and the fact that early indications suggest Indiana has gotten better (this after pushing M.I.A. to the brink last year) would suggest the observer is in denial and or is an adolescent child, having trouble with reality.

      I personally prefer to address the obvious….most grown folk have that characteristic.

    • bougin89 - Nov 14, 2013 at 9:52 AM

      It’s foolish to write off the Heat. They are and should be the favorites. I think the Pacers are better equipped this year so it should be even more interesting. Miami needs to stay healthy but so do the Pacers. Ideally both will be healthy for the playoffs.

  2. scorp16 - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    Yeah. Okay.
    Championships aren’t won in November.

  3. jzone954 - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    To much “pacers will beat Miami ” talk this early on no? Even as a Heat fan I have nothing but the upmost respect for Vogel and the Pacers. Really Good coach and a really Good team. But I’ll take Miami 7.

    • antistratfordian - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:04 PM

      I have less respect for Frank “Heat are the biggest floppers” Vogel and Roy “We’re built the right way, Miami is built the wrong way” Hibbert and Danny “LeBron James don’t scare me!” Granger and Lance “The King is just a choker!” Stephenson. Indiana is going to keep losing to Miami until they build up some more positive karma.

      I do appreciate Paul George, David West and George Hill though.

      • dynasonic - Nov 14, 2013 at 2:27 PM

        As opposed to all the positive karma Lebron brought with him to “south beach” when he ripped out the collective heart of an entire city on national television? Or would that be the karma that Ray Allen brought to Miami when he bailed on his team to ride on the coat tails of the big 3? Perhaps you are referring to the karma that Battier generated by kneeing Hibbert in the nuts during game 1 of the ECF? Or maybe you are talking about all the karma that the fans brought to the team during game 6 of the finals against the Spurs. NO NO NO, you are right… your team is nothing but a walking breathing class act.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:29 PM

        Look at how the future unfolded, friend. LeBron wasn’t carrying any curse with him as Gilbert said he would in his pathetic letter.

        You know, the Cavs had no idea what to do with LeBron and surrounded him with near-garbage for 7 years. James did his best to carry that sorry sack of team, and did a great one-man job, but when he left Cavs fans blamed him specifically for their previous failures. Cleveland turned into a desperate, despicable bunch – death threats – burnings in effigy – and you saw how they treated him when he went back to the Q. And Dan Gilbert’s letter had saddled Cleveland with so much bad karma that they’re still trying to recover from it.

        LeBron? He’s been doing fantastic since.

  4. asimonetti88 - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    Can you introduce me to Kay please?

  5. kavika6 - Nov 13, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    Wait to judge until they start playing some good Western Conference teams.

    • jimsjam33 - Nov 14, 2013 at 2:08 AM

      The road to seven straight victories has been pretty soft . A win over Memphis is the only quality win and the Griz are 3 and 5 . Just wait until they play San Antonio , OKC , LAC , Golden State , Minn. , Portland , Houston , Denver and Sacramento . If they win three on the road that will be good .

      • davidly - Nov 14, 2013 at 12:42 PM

        On the other hand, having won all three back-to-backs in their first seven games is pretty impressive. They have another back-to-back this weekend.

  6. creek0512 - Nov 14, 2013 at 12:02 AM

    There is zero incentive for the Pacers to trade Granger and Bird is smart enough to know it.

  7. misterdreamer119 - Nov 14, 2013 at 12:09 AM

    Be honest the Heat have peaked as a team. Only Lebron is growing as a player. Pacers are getting better individually and collectively.

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