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Hollinger: Bright Forecast For Pacers's John Hollinger broke ranks with his colleague Marc Stein in his preseason forecast for the Indiana Pacers when he projected a 41-41 record and a 7th seed in the playoffs for the blue and gold.

I must say, I thought all the positive preseason talk about the Pacers would be confined to the Fieldhouse yesterday, but Hollinger makes a reasoned case for a better than expected season. Let's face it, 41-41 isn't remarkable but most national views of the current team point to Jermaine O'Neal's departure leaving the team star-less and figure they don't have a chance to succeed.

Those folks should read Hollinger's outlook because it captures my exact sentiments on the potential of this Pacers team. They can shoot it and they can score it. The talent depth is stronger than it appears at first glance. Post scoring is weak and where they'll miss J.O. but I don't think scoring will be a problem so that should help minimize the team's main weakness.

While J.O. is gone, his impact on the team last year was minimal anyway. So a team that just missed the playoffs last year, improved in several areas but because no one on the roster is a current "star" then they won't be better? Doesn't make sense when you break down the numbers, which is why I also appreciate Hollinger's take because he dives deep into the numbers to research his opinion.

I'm just happy to see my tempered enthusiasm for this team doesn't evolve from complete myopic homerism and is shared by an objective observer of the game.