[From the FanPosts, one of many good takes in the immediate aftermath of the season ending on Thursday night from KR3044 - TL]
So it's over. The sting of elimination lingers. But it was a great year. The fans were privileged to witness a group of guys who were not only great on the court, but just so damned easy to get behind and root for. There were no shootings, or domestic violence, hell Lance even managed not to chuck the mrs down the stairs! No, this was a group of high class and high effort guys. Sounds good right? Well it gets even better, after that, the core of this team, with the exception of David West, are young and only going to get better. But on to the contracts later.
So that group of guys went out and kicked ass. They had no national TV exposure, but no matter they simple won games, @ Boston @ LA @ Chicago @ Dallas and they stormed into the all star break nearly ten games over .500 and the surprise team of the league. They boasted a young first time all star in big roy. And still no one took notice, ESPN when handed a note explaining that the sixers and pacers were young, talented, and winning ball games, they responded by playing a game of them playing each other and no more. Everyone who expected the Pacers to fade were met with disappointment when they continued to roll. The Pacers broke through and beat the heat, then proceeded to roll through april and snatch the 3 seed away from the Magic, Celtics, and Hawks, all teams with a great deal more experience. The playoffs came, and the Pacers with the 5th best record in the league, were brushed aside and almost entirely regulated to NBA TV, where with the exception of a horrendous game 1, proceeded to put away a magic team that was in chaos.
And then came the big one, a physical, trash talking, entertaining as hell 2nd round match with the Heat. The Pacers forced the country to take notice, and succeeded in putting a fright in heat homers all over the world. And when lebron and wade simply took their game to a level of such fantastic play that the pacers couldn't keep up, it ended. But not before something happened that made this Pacer fan proud. Most of the crowd stayed and applauded the Pacers, chanting them off the court with Thank you Pacers. A gesture of class that I would have not expected earlier in the year, and a sign that the fans appear to have taken notice and are ready for another era of Pacer quality basketball.
And so now, it's time for the off season, and I will give my take on what I think we should do.
First things first, our free agents and what to do with them.
1.Roy Hibbert. This one is obvious. You have to resign him, b/c while he is inconsistent and maddening at times, there are simply not that many good centers in the league, and I'd rather have a solid starting center for years to come, than the alternative.
2.George Hill. This one is tough. There are so many variables to this piece. If the pacers think that hill and collison are the two PG's they want to move forward with(I don't agree with that thought) then they should resign him. If they sign a Williams or Nash, then they must decide who to keep as the backup hill or collison. My personal opinion is see if he would agree to being the 6th man and resign him to a contract appropriate to that title. If he insists on being paid like a starter or being a starter, than i'm afraid that the door is open and he is free to go.
3. AJ Price. As much as I love a low percentage jump shooting third string PG, I'm going to have to let Mr. Price go. He simply has no potential to get to even a backup PG level of play.
Unrestricted Free Agents.
1.Lou Amundson. He has spark, he rocks a dangerous ponytail, but as we saw in the playoffs, he was just about worthless and part of the reason our 2nd unit was taken out to the woodshed on a regular basis. They are plenty of high energy big guys out there, so I say let Lou go.
2.Leandro Barbosa. Sometimes your shot goes in and you look so good. Most of the time, you hog the ball like your kobe bryant, play no D, and will prolly command a decent amount of money. No thanks.
3.Krylo Fesenko. So we are looking for another backup big man to replace lou, I say if he signs for cheap, let Big Fez after a full off season come in and play some minutes as your backup 5. His D is undeniable. And while he lacks the ponytail, a 7 foot russian rocking a bieber cut is almost as amusing.
4.Dahntay Jones. He has a player option I believe, if he wants more minutes he will leave, if he comes back, I have no problem, he is a solid player who simply fits into a rotation.
So under my assumptions the remaining roster will be as such.
PG Collison or Hill
SG Paul George
SF Danny Granger
PF David West
C Roy Hibbert
PG Collison or Hill
SG Lance and Jones
PF Psycho T and Pendergraph
Now the team has cap space and thus should make some moves in the draft and free agency.
For the draft, i didn't watch much college ball, but as this team is set at most of need spots, I say draft the best available potential.
I will list the options in the order I would prefer.
1. Deron Williams. He's a scorer. He's a Dime machine. He's a star simply put. Will he want to come to Indiana? No. Will he want to come to a balanced young team that could be a PG away from Elite status? Hell yeah. Look, if he will sign, then you sign him. Period. You can't pass up a superstar at your weakest position, you just can't. Obviously if he signs, than either Hill or Collison can and should be moved for a decent piece in return.
2.Goran Dragic. This kid just passes my eye test. He reminds me of a younger steve nash, prolly b/c he played behind steve. I remember when he came in for nash in the playoffs and tore it up. His stats when starting with Houston this year, are 18 points and 8.5 assists. If signed the same trade option applies.
3.Steve Nash. He's old. I've heard a few people worry about his health? Which I don't understand seeing as he played at least 70 games in every year since 2000, including all but 4 games this year. And is he washed up? Well he only manged to dish out 10.7 assist to a team consisting of scoring options such as Gortat, a 75 year old Grant Hill, and Jared Dudley. Oh and btw, he also shot a CAREER high 53 percent from the field this year. This guy is a stud among studs, and if he will sign then hell to the yeah. If signed the same trade option above applies.
4.Andre Miller. This isn't an option I look forward to. This option means that Williams, Nash and Dragic have spurned us. That Hill demanded too much money and left. This option means that we have to sign a backup PG or we will be handed the role off to Born Ready(Not quite ready yet for that option, someday maybe.) Let's hope option 4 never arises.
This really only applies to a backup 2 guard, as Paul George is anchored in as the starter.
1.Ray Allen. I'm sure he will stay in Boston, but if he leaves and wants to sign with a contender, go for it. Can't go wrong with a guy as clutch as he is from downtown.
2.Jason Terry. I don't see him coming here either, but he is instant offense off the bench and would give us some much needed scoring.
3.This one is a tie, as I personally don't find either option appealing.
1.Eric Gordon. Obviously this wouldn't be for a backup 2 guard. If we sign him, that means he is starting at the 2, which means george moves to the 3, which means Granger is traded. I know he went to IU, but he is just too damn injury prone and not even clearly better than Granger, so I can't justify this signing.
2.OJ Mayo. I'm keeping my options open but no. no. no. and no. Doesn't fit my mental picture of "Team Player"
Really not much on the market here. Maybe this should be our first round draft pick?
Also a bit empty. Either stick with Tyler, or maybe sign Earl Clark?
If we aren't comfortable with Fez, we can explore an option we talked about at the deadline.
Chris Kaman. He can score, which is light years ahead of what we would get out of Lou or Fez, D isn't as good though so there's that. All in all, Center is also dry on the market, because really what team lets good centers go.
So wow. I didn't anticipate typing this novel. But it all spewed out.
I enjoyed the season and look forward to next's.
Agree? Disagree? Leave your thoughts.