After the Pacers shootaround on Monday, Frank Vogel revealed how inspired he was by the Seattle Seahawks' impressive performance while winning the Super Bowl. Prior to the game, Vogel brought up the Seahawks again in the context of finding ways to improve the offense throughout the playing rotation.
"We saw the Seattle Seahawks win the championship last night with a dominant defense but only turning the ball over ZERO times," Vogel said. "You don't have to be the highest octane offense in the NBA but you can't beat yourself."
Upon closer inspection, the Pacers do bear a striking resemblance as the NBA equivalent of the Seahawks.
Like the Seahawks, the Pacers have the league's best defense and just enough offense to overwhelm any opponent when they have it going at both ends.
Also like the Seahawks, the Pacers have and abundance of chips on their respective shoulders which they use collectively as fuel to also strengthen their bond with one another.
So, not only do the 'Hawks play ridiculous defense but they do so with a large percentage of players who were selected after the first two rounds for the NFL draft, including some who were not even drafted. The NBA and NFL drafts and roster machinations aren't comparable, but the ability to feel slighted by those who judge talent does compare favorably. Here's a quick look at how several Pacers may have used doubts cast by others to push them to improve and coalesce as a unit with plenty of dog in them to grind out wins in a variety of ways.
Paul George - 10th pick overall when he felt like the most talented player in the draft. Also, had few options for college scholarships coming out of high school before going to Fresno State.
Roy Hibbert - Considered a project as 17th overall pick. Often criticized en route to becoming dominant defensive center from the time he arrived as a freshman at Georgetown unable to run up to and through signing a four-year max deal with the Pacers.
David West - Mid-first round pick, ended up joining Pacers as a free agent after a knee injury scared much of the league away.
George Hill - Has always had a chip on his shoulder since high school after leading the state in scoring but not acclaim with names like Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Jr., Courtney Lee and Eric Gordon hogging the headlines. He used that fuel at IUPUI to earn a chance at the NBA and continues to fight for respect against high-profile guards he plays around the league.
Lance Stephenson - 40th pick in the second round after being passed on by every team in the league including TWICE right before the Pacers pick in the second round by his hometown New York Knicks.
Danny Granger - Fell to 17th in draft before working his way up to an All-Star appearance. Now back proving he can still contribute after long knee rehab.
C.J. Watson - Undrafted, spent two years in D-League before getting NBA break as career backup.
Rasual Butler - Second-round pick, played for five teams before spending last season in D-League. Had to earn his way on Pacers roster in training camp.
So, yeah, Frank Vogel is onto something with his comparison of the Pacers and the Seahawks. We'll just have to wait and see if the Pacers can be as nasty and dominant in the playoffs as the 'Hawks were in their run to winning the Super Bowl.
Oh, and if you still don't think the Pacers draw motivation as a group from trying to prove others wrong, check out David West's comments in the last 45 seconds of this clip.
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