In past seasons, the Indiana Pacers were simply trying to play better. The focus heading into the season was on the team in blue and gold. Could they begin to play well on a consistent level? If so, maybe they could make the playoffs.
Well, that all changed last season when the Pacers earned a third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and then played like a third seed once post-season play began.
So this season, making the playoffs is not so much a goal but an expectation and all of the twists and turns and injuries throughout the regular season can help or hinder the Pacers chances for a strong finish and high seed in the Eastern Conference. So while in past season, we simply focused on the Pacers, this year we'll also keep an eye on the competition.
- The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics held their media day events on Friday. The two EC powers will be playing outside the U.S. in the preseason so the NBA allows them to begin camp a little early. Check out Celtics Blog and Hot Hot Hoops for all of the details. The Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers also started things on Friday. As for the C's, Paul Pierce is feeling good and Kevin Garnett isn't talking to new Heat guard Ray Allen. In Miami, Dwyane Wade isn't feeling so good while still recovering from offseason knee surgery so he expects to miss part of training camp and sit out the early preseason games
- The Washington Wizards hope to take a leap up the EC standings this year after revamping their roster to add some more vets to go along with dynamic point guard John Wall and rookie Bradley Beale. Unfortunately for the Wiz, the team revealed that John Wall is shutting it down to take care of a knee injury and will be out for eight weeks which should keep him out at least 10 games. The Pacers have two early-season games against the Wiz, so they should benefit from not having to chase Wall around. That also means there's an opportunity for A.J. Price and Shelvin Mack to at least play a heavy role off the bench. I'm sure Juice would enjoy staring those games against the Pacers.
- The New York Knicks are reportedly luring Rasheed Wallace out of retirement. Apparently they needed a another elder statesman to complete foursome for shuffleboard. At 38 years old, Wallace will join Marcus Camby (38), Kurt Thomas (39) and Jason Kidd (39) for some geriatric depth at MSG. The Knicks have a full training camp roster with about 20 players so whether Sheed goes through with the comeback will depend on his game. His comeback is based on his desire to play for Mike Woodson, a former assistant when Sheed was in Detroit.