[From the Fan Posts, latrell spreewel takes a look ahead to makes some predictions for the Pacers shortened 2011-12 NBA season. Always appreciate spree's comments and sticking it out with us here during the lockout. So what do you think? - TL]
In light of the recent compromise between the NBA and it's players, it's now time to turn our focus back into the more entertaining side of the NBA. Usually, the season predictions under non-lockout circumstances would have already been released and heavily disected, unfortunately, we have been delayed but nontheless let's get in our season predictions for the 66 game season. Yes, I do realize the free agency period hasn't even started yet and that a big time signing could change the entire scope of the team, but for now, assuming the Pacers have themselves a pretty modest free agency period (A.K.A. Josh McRoberts) how will the team fair through the season?
DG: takes slightly less shots than previous seasons and re-dedicate himself on the defensive end. Will definately improve from his offensive inefficiencies from last season which almost all Pacer fans would unanimously agree Danny took way too many terrible shots.
PG: Will still struggle from time to time as an offensive player especially finding his identity on a team with offensive options ahead of him, but will definately improve on his outside shot and his overall offensive skill set. MIP? probably not this year. However, on the defensive end, PG's potential is limitless as a wingman, he seems like he takes that part of his job personally. Although, how much better is Paul George than Brandon Rush on defense, and if so, is it significant enough to place the Pacers in the ranks of elite defensive teams?
Hibbert: MIP!!!!! No doubts about it. ALL Star?, difficult given the competitions ahead of Roy in the East. It usually takes a while for centers to develop, and in Hibberts' case that will definately be true. Last season, there were a lot of positives but also a lot of mind numbingly negatives. Roy struggle the last couple of seasons with his body; he just couldn't quite figure out the right amount of mass he wants. Initially he was too slow with athlete induced aesthma, then he was too light, but this summer seeing all reports about his workouts and muscle accumulation, all signs point to a gigantic season for the Big Dawg. Of course, given that roy's skill set is more of a finese big like a Duncan, his offensive improvements stat wise might not be as eye catching as someone like Brook Lopez, but in terms of rebounding and defense, Roy Hibbert will be a serious force in the paint.
Collison: Noticeably better perimeter defense and better assist numbers. Frank Vogel will not be JOB in terms of having point guards playing like off guards. DC will definitely have the ball more often under Vogel than JOB. Given that the point gaurd position is the single most important position on the court, Darren Collison will have huge task ahead of him this season.
power forward: Hansbrough/McRoberts. Both players begin to establish themselves as players in the NBA.
Bench: best bench since the brawl era. Lance and Hill and Price will probably take turns handling the point, which makes training camp all the more intriging. In the end, Lance probably will be the best option given his vision and his play making abilities. George Hill obviously bring tremendeous experience, defense and leadership skills, non of which can be ignored. Jeff Foster is pretty much a locked to bring back his consistant hustle and rebounding skills hopefully injuries notwithstanding.
overall: Larry Bird has found something in Indiana. The Pacers tasted blood last year against the Bulls, and they are hungry for more. But more than just their desire, is their discovery of an identity with their coach, the Pacers are willing to be a hard hitting, slugfest, defensive minded team, and when all is said, they will be a top 5-10 defensive team during the regular season.
Of course this prediction is made before the final roster is set, but just for the hell of celebrating the end of the lockout let our imaginations run wild!!!