If you can't talk about winning a championship on Media Day, when can you?
The Indiana Pacers took advantage of the annual rite of fall prior to starting training camp on Monday to openly talk about eyeing a championship run out of the competitive Eastern Conference.
The championship talk is purely just talk at this point, but it isn't completely delusional. They will need things to go their way, much like they did last year, to be in position at the end of the season to REALLY talk about a championship. But until then the team keeps pointing toward that big finish while really focusing on the growth and improvement of the team.
"We want to grow," Frank Vogel said. "Looking at it from a playoff standpoint we got to the second round last year, so we're hoping to get further. We got a third seed in the regular season, so we're hoping to do better than that. Those would both be probably the first steps in terms of taking that next step as a franchise."
Those steps would put the Pacers another stride away from competing for a championship, which Vogel doesn't hesitate to talk about.
"We finished the season last year feeling like we were good enough to win a championship," Vogel said. "We're a team that sets our sights high, we shoot for the moon and then we work our butts off trying to get to those goals."
"We're dreaming big here," Vogel calmly concluded.
Roy Hibbert talked about focusing on the big steps in the process towards a championship, but still thinks his squad in underestimated and he looks forward to letting others see how the team has improve.
"There is very little talk about us but we've been working out together as a team, for the past three weeks we've had like 12 guys in the gym," Hibbert said about his team's commitment to improve. "I hear about Miami and New York getting together and it is all over ESPN, but we're the best kept secret, so we've been working for awhile."
The workouts confirmed the Pacers are still trending up and the improved bench options has him excited and ready to attack the team's goals to improve on last season.
"Going further in the playoffs, obviously getting over that hump in Miami," Hibbert responded regarding team goals. "We want to win our division, that's going to be hard for us. That's something that I think is a goal in the locker room we can set for ourselves and then obviously go on from there."
George Hill will be leading the starting unit at point guard and like Vogel, he has no problems laying out his championship goals for his team, stating that the ultimate prize should be the one and only goal for the blue and gold.
"We have one (goal) and that's to win a championship. If we fall short we're going to keep pounding on the rock to get back up there, so I'm sure that everyone in this gym, their mindset is to win a championship this year."