My take on the roster right now

I’ve wanted to do something like this for a while now and finally got around to do doing it. I didn’t like the trade talks of trading certain players because I feel like everyone on the team that Larry put together has their own individual roles. No particular order here, just tried to make the train of thought flow smoothly.

George Hill: He’s been playing phenomenal and his absence from the team is duly noted. Ever since mid-January I felt that this team would be better if Hill was the starting point guard and Darren Collison was the back-up. But injuries kept Hill out and the “eventual” switch couldn’t be made. I know a lot of the fans want this switch now but that would cause more harm than good. In this condensed shortened season with limited practice time, Hill might not be acclimated enough with the starting unit. Right now he is that guy with the 2nd unit that can create opportunities for the rest of the team as well as a good passer and defender. Keep him there for now and in the future he will be that home town hero at point who can lead us to be an elite team.

Darren Collison: Ahah, the guy everyone wants gone. I’ve defended Collison and have said I like him. He’s been struggling lately and even I do am disappointed. But the Pacers are WINNING. Might not be against top-tier teams but we are winning games we should and otherwise more games than recent years. I would understand if we are struggling to do something but we are doing well so something must be right. But enough about defending him and more on what he brings to the table. He is a good free throw shooter and he has tremendous speed. He brings the desire to win no matter what and acknowledges his responsibility and short-comings. On a lottery team he would be a starter and someone they would look forward to. People say that he’s a defensive liability but Collison can play defense, it’s just at times he’s not consistent and loses focus and aggression. Overall he is a good player and I hope he remains a Pacer because I don’t want to see him burn us on another team. (Which he did btw, got his only triple-double against the Pacers while with the Hornets.)

Leandro Barbosa: The newest member of the team. Together with Hill and Collison, they form the fastest backcourt tandem in the league. With that come a lot of fast break opportunities that will surely excite the crowd. He is also someone who can create his own shot and his presence should solidify the fact that the Pacers have one of the best benches of the league. People bring up his beef with Danny Granger but that doesn’t mean there’s going to be locker room issues. The ONLY tweet by Granger yesterday was welcoming Barbosa so there isn’t going to be any issues there. What the past beef between the two means is that these guys want to win and they aren’t going to take crap from nobody. Aggression has been one thing the Pacers have been lacking but with Barbosa’s presence, hopefully the rest of the team gets their killer instinct back, (if they haven’t gotten it already).

Danny Granger: CAPTAIN. It’s shocking that some of the fans wanted him traded. This is the guy that gave the Pacers life and hope in the past few years and you guys want him gone? Never once did I hear him ask to be traded or put down this team (correct me if I’m wrong). This guy wants to win and believes that it can happen against anyone in this league. Sure he’s not Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, but Granger is a good player of us. If anything he’s surely in the tier below those guys. I hope this guy remains a Pacer for life. But Danny can’t do it all and he knows that. Some say “Batman” is our number one scoring option but his skillset is more of a 2nd fiddle. The one guy every team should be worried for is………….

Paul George: SUPERSTAR, at least in the near future. He can do everything. Three point shooter, lockdown defense and acrobatic dunks. NBA All-Defense team for sure and if he keeps up with his steals, he can challenge for Defensive Player of the year. Some say he’s the next Michael Jordan but right now he’s more like Scottie Pippen. George also can’t do it himself and I hope he and Granger can form that Jordan/Pippen tandem. Not saying they are carbon copies but they borrow elements from that pair. It will only be a while till teams start double teaming him but right now he is not the player that some people hype him to be. Once he becomes consistent enough and not try to force things, we might have ourselves the best player in the league.

Roy Hibbert: Another guy some people wanted traded. He is no Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum but he is a good player. Right now he is in the same tier as Granger. He’s been struggling but that’s on him. How he does depends on how he feels. I’m not saying that he is “inconsistent” but he just needs confidence. This guy has the tools to be considered one of the best centers of the league. You can teach someone how to play the game but you can’t teach size. How many legit 7’ 2’’ guys do you know off? Roy Hibbert will continue to improve his game in each passing year. This guy has a unquestionable work ethic and is a team player that just wants to win, a player you build a franchise around. Big Roy will be a Pacer for years to come.

David West: Good pick-up. That’s just a testament to our upcoming franchise. He picked the Pacers over the Celtics. He’s finally gotten his basketball legs and has been playing hard. West’s veteran presence has also benefitted the team with helping the young players be more mentally focused. His presence has helped with the development of Hibbert. The one thing I like the most about him is that he tells it how it is.

Tyler Hansbrough: I like this kid. While some of you guys want him traded I feel like he can be something special. High energy guy, pesky defender, doesn’t back down, gets to the line and actually makes free throws. I absolutely love the fact that he’s starting to be hated by other team’s home crowd. This guy is tough as nails. There are times when he needs to shift down and pass to open guy but that will come in time. I hope he will continue to improve and be the Power Forward of the future.

Dahntay Jones: A good guy to have on the team. He gives depth to our wings and can play defense. He’s been to the Western Conference Finals with the Denver Nuggets so he has playoff experience. He can shoot the three and drive but can’t be that consistent scoring threat of the bench. However, when our main guys are struggling to score, Jones often times fills the void.

Lou Amundson: He’s been playing stellar lately and seems to be a crowd favorite. Amundson can block shots and get offensive boards. He won’t always be playing at a high level but he is a good piece to have.

A.J. Price: He struggled at the start of the season but eventually has gotten more minutes. He did a good job in the playoffs last year when Collison was injured and is a good depth player to have. I’d like to see him attack the basket more and get to the line because for a while he’s free throw percentage was a hundred percent. Usually knocks down three’s when he’s open.

Jeff Foster: Old time veteran. I really hope and think that we’re just saving him in the playoffs. We are definitely going to need as much front court depth in the playoffs and hopefully Foster will be in good shape to contribute.

Jeff Pendergraph: This guy can rebound. He has long arms that remind of Tyson Chandler. From what I’ve seen during garbage time, he gets rebounds very smoothly. I hope he can use his length to his advantage and be more aggressive when he gets the ball.

Lance Stephenson: Everyone raves about him but I just can’t put my finger on him. His turnovers stick out more than his talent right now and I don’t know where he fits just yet. He does have talent though and with a deep bench, I hope he can grow to become that consistent bench scorer of the future.

UPDATE: I started writing this before the Knicks back to back so I just need to add some things about the earlier players mentioned.

--DC does get abused by bigger guards. I want to see him pressure the other team’s point guard like how he did when we did beat Orlando earlier in the season. He won’t be able to keep that intensity the whole game so I do want to see less minutes from him and more from Hill.

--Put G. Hill on the court more with Paul George and watch them do wonders. These two guys have already established chemistry on and off the court so might as well use it to its fullest.

--Danny, you can’t do everything. I see him wanting to make those timely shots to either get us into position to take the lead or extend it, but he just doesn’t hit them all the time. I hope Paul George breaks out soon so the defensive attention is on him so Danny can do what he does and score.

--David West has a lot of miles on the odometer. He does not show up with limited rest. Give Tyler some of his minutes on back to backs. Tyler’s high energy should make up for when West needs a break. Hopefully we lesser minutes in those condensed games, West can contribute more.

--Watched Barbosa’s interview. He seems like a great guy to have on the team and I can’t wait for him to come in and contribute immediately.

Thanks for reading you guys and please leave any comments below and let’s get some discussion going.
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