It's been six years since the Pacers were unjustly sentenced by Warden Stern and for six years now the Pacers have been in NBA prison chipping away at their prison walls with their rock hammer ever so slowly coming closer to freedom. Last season I believe the Pacers finally cracked through their walls begun the escape route out of the prison that was the crawl through 500 yards of shit. Call the winning streak at the end of the season what you want but if you were one of the fans who watched every game you cannot deny that analogy. Last year the Indiana Pacers crawled through 500 yards of shit hoping to find freedom on the other side (hopefully next year), you can't argue it. And here we are, on the verge of the Pacer's Redemption and yet so much still has to go right for this to work.
To be able to pick up any free agents of any value next year the Pacers will have to make the playoffs next year.. Think about it, Indiana can have all the money in the world and no one would come here without being grossly overpaid, especially if the Pacers aren't winning. It's foolish to think that if NEW YORK can't attract anyone without overpaying (sorry Amare) that the Pacers luck will be different this year. So how do we get there? Well lets take a look.
Still the Pacers need a lot of luck to break through going into next season and I think that luck hinges on 2 things. 1) The Mid-season Trade that will bolster the roster and 2) Roy Hibbert. If Roy can raise his game to a borderline all star level Pacers fans can start thinking playoffs, if the Pacers are smelling the playoffs at the all star break then they become buyers at the trade deadline. With a successful trade and Hibbys rise to stardom the Pacers can sneak in the playoffs, and maybe gain some momentum with the public at seasons end (OKC last year anyone). With such momentum the Pacers will then have an opportunity to sign players that will help them in next years free agency.
So What about our immediate issue at PG? The reality is that anyone we can sign would be Watson 2.0. The Pacers simply can't afford signing anyone that is more talented than him at the moment. And if that's the best we can do I say stay where we are at with TJ, Price, and Stephenson and see who's available at the trading deadline and go from there.
Now I know that's a lot of IFS that have to come in a certain order for the Pacers to be competitive but that's the situation they are currently in. So remember, first Roy needs to establish himself and help put some wins on the board, second there needs to be a mid-season trade that will bring in a quality PG and possible a seasoned vet into the mix. Thirdly we need to make the playoffs and make some noise, even if that means winning a couple games against hopefully the Celts or Magic (for my sanity's sake I hope we can avoid Miami in the first round if we somehow do make the playoffs but then again those home playoff games would be fun to attend). And then after all that maybe we can do something with our cap space next summer. I hate to say it but if we don't do all of these things we wont sign anybody at their net worth in 2011. If we do these things though then the Pacers will be relevant again.
So what are the chances of all this happening and me dreaming of home-court during the 2012 playoffs? Well not good, but the way I look at it the Pacers have been storing their luck for 6 years now, might as well start using some of it this year. Go Pacers!