Hey Pacers fans, hope you're having a good day. I saw that a Bulls fan commented here a while ago and I thought to myself, "why not have a Pistons fan join the party?" No, I'm not here to troll you like the Bulls fan was; I'm here to offer my opinion and compare it to yours. First off, I actually like the Pacers. That might have seemed nearly impossible a while ago, especially after the malice, but things have simmered down recently. This is largely in part because the Pistons and Pacers haven't faced each other in the playoffs since 2005. I think we can all agree that the rivalry, as dirty as it was at times, left on a good note when Larry Brown took the timeout for Reggie Miller in his seconds as a player. But let's end all this nostalgia and get to the point.
I think that the Pacers are very similar to the 2004 Pistons, which is really why I am here. I love watching Pacer basketball because it is so rare to see a TEAM-- not just a group of superstars. I think that the Pacers have all the players they need except a point guard. If you guys can get a point guard who can push the tempo at times, play smart, and contribute to defense a bit, then I think you guys could get over the hump and beat the Heat. The best part about getting a better point guard is that you can easily bump George Hill down to 2nd string and have a much better bench if you don't end up trading him away. I know you guys are very tight on the cap so I am not sure how you can get a better point guard. You might find success trying to unload Evan Turner to some other team in exchange for a point guard.
Besides getting a better point guard, I think you guys have every you need-- including Lance Stephenson. Lance is so crucial because he does what he needs to do to win. If Lance Stephenson is a head case, then I'd rather have him over any other head case in the league. Moving on to the rest of the roster, Paul George is self-explanatory, David West is a beast, and Hibbert,while inconsistent, is crucial to your playing style. Imagine the 04 Pistons without Ben Wallace. Hibbert is the heart and soul of the Pacers just like Ben Wallace was with the Pistons, at least in my opinion. He surely isn't the best player on the team, that award goes to PG, but he has the biggest impact on the team because the defense starts and ends with him. When you have a 7 feet 2 inch giant playing great defense, teams are going to be hesitant to drive the ball in the paint and that's how your guards and wings thrive on defense.
The biggest problem with the Pacers is Frank Vogel. I don't think that Vogel has control over the team, which explains an almost 2 month long draught and Lance's antics. Everyone goes through droughts, and it's the players responsibility to regain form, but I think after such a prolonged slump that fingers need to be pointed at Vogel. There comes a certain point in time where the coach has to get a player, like Hibbert, fired up and motivated, and I don't think Vogel did that. Secondly, Vogel had a preview of Lance's tactics before it all exploded in game 7, yet he didn't stop him. Even in game 7, it took a pep talk with Larry Bird to get Lance to chill out. It shouldn't be Larry's job to talk to Lance, it's Vogel's job. Since he doesn't really have any control, I don't see why he should still have job (trust me, I am a Pistons fan, I know an unsuccessful coach when I see him). That's not to say Vogel is a bad coach though, I just think he is lacking the complete package.
In my opinion, Indiana would thrive under Lionel Hollins. He did a fantastic job in Memphis with a roster that isn't as talented as yours. He plays a similar style as Vogel, but I think he could get the most out of the unit and get everyone to mesh better than Vogel. He is disciplined enough to quiet Lance down and have him focus just on basketball. He's not a huge upgrade, but I think there is a noticeable difference between Vogel and Hollins.
Those are just my opinions, what do you guys think of them?
EDIT: I was thinking about things and I think that there is one last thing that Indiana is missing besides what I mentioned above--a veteran with a successful past. Yeah, David West is a vet, but he hasn't been to the finals yet. I think Indiana could benefit from a guy like Chauncey Billups (although he is retiring a Piston) or Derek Fisher (probably retiring). They don't have much of an impact on the court but they have a huge impact in the locker room. Look at the NBA champions in the last 10 years and name one that didn't have that Derek Fisher type player (or at least near his level).