It's my opinion that the Pacers need somebody to emerge who will be clutch. Staying in games is one thing, but closing out teams, warding off come-backs, or just winning close games is typically done by some clutch plays.
That might be an obvious statement, but where is that "next gear" with this squad and where will it be in the future? If anything has come out of this playoffs so far, it's just that:. How to close out a game. Who can this team depend on in the future, and how will it look?
Granger is obviously the closest thing they have to a clutch performer, but how many game-winners does he have? How much confidence do you have just giving him the ball in the waning minutes? I like Granger a lot and believe he's learning a ton from this series. He will probably improve next year, especially if there is somebody by his side who can be clutch with him.
Collison is somebody that I believe has it in his blood, and who has shown some glimpses, but I believe it'll take some time for him to develop that confidence and instinct. I'm crossing my fingers this happens in the off-season! It also seems like he could be the next coming of Travis Best which makes me feel ill. Ugh.
Hibbert is probably the next most talented/experienced guy, and next best option. Does he have the fire though to make it happen? What is our best play through him? Is he going to be near all-star form? Will he be that 15 point, 9 rebound, 3 blocks guy we thought he might be early in the season?
Paul George obviously has sick talent, but I won't be surprised if it takes him another couple years to be that guy. In the mean time, how should he be utilized? Is it too early to know? Will he be able to learn how to dribble?
Is there anybody else? I doubt Hansbrough is a go-to guy, but he will probably learn to be clutch. That jump shot of his is invaluable. Do we return to more pick-n-rolls? For a while it looked like that might be a big part of the offense moving forward.
Going into next season, who will realistically step up and "know" they will get it done when it counts? How will that look? Will refining the current offense be enough or will they need to shake it up to be playoff contenders?
Can't wait for next season!