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In 12 months, the Pacers may still be in limbo

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After a nearly apocalyptic 2014, the hope is the Pacers will begin to rise from the ashes in a year's time. Seemingly stuck in a perpetual holding pattern, it might be easier to focus on the future than the here and now.

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This may not have been a universal experience; but, at my Alma mater, the university would regularly schedule and then publicize various dates and times throughout the year to hand out free stuff in concert with various special events such as the start of a new semester, fall homecoming, or the countdown to spring break. Inevitably, when the moment arrived to collect on the school-sponsored giveaways, hundreds of students would flock to the disclosed location of the handout.

While it is no surprise that college students - like moths to the flame - would literally wait for more than an hour all in the name of  "free," the truly interesting part of these giveaways was when I would ask one of them for what item they were anxiously waiting. Predictably, one of my fellow students would reply, "I don't know."

To make a long story short, this is exactly how I envision the Pacers during the summer of 2015. Patiently waiting through the turnstiles and ramifications of their nearly apocalyptic prior off-season without the benefit of knowing what exactly the prize is waiting for them at the end of the line.

According to Tim Grover, CEO of ATTACK Athletics and well-known for his work with Hall of Fame athletes, Paul George, after suffering a compound tibia-fibia fracture, will likely be able to return to basketball activities in 12 months. While he may be able to physically run, jump, and dribble a ball, Grover points out that the "mind has its own timetable." Given that every athlete's rehabilitation time is unique to them, fans should already be bracing themselves for the possibility that his full-recovery - body, mind, and spirit - will take time. Which means that when PG-13 is officially cleared to return to the hardwood, he may not initially resemble the player that once wore No. 24.

The Pacers will just have to wait and see...

In post-apocalyptic Pacers-landia,only a few elements of their core may still be intact. Lance Stephenson will have finished his first year as a Hornet, and both Roy Hibbert and David West will have the ability to exercise early termination options. As such, there is a very real possibility that the G2 Zone may be all that remains in a year's time. Sure the Pacers will have prepared in advance for just such a scenario, but pitching quality free agents on the opportunity to play alongside someone who just missed a year of competition may be a tough sell.

The Pacers will just have to wait and see...

Refusing to cultivate a culture synonymous with tanking the prior off-season, perhaps the newly proposed lottery system will justly reward the Pacers. If the new method of squeezing the lottery odds is finalized, the Pacers, assuming they miss the playoffs, will have nearly the same relative chance as the other thirteen teams vying to land the top overall pick. During the post-Brawl years the Pacers were never awarded a higher pick than No. 10, maybe some of the Cleveland Cavaliers perpetual luck will rub off in 2015?

The Pacers will just have to wait and see...

Long-billed as an elite defender and possible solid all-around contributor, the Pacers will finally know what exactly they have in Solomon Hill by next summer. Honing his perimeter jump shot and reportedly "working his tail off," Frank Vogel recently told the media regarding the squad's sophomore player, "If he would have been playing 25 minutes a game last year, everyone would be talking about how good Solomon Hill is."

Following the 2014 season, Hill will likely have been given the opportunity to make good on his coach's assertion. Asked to fill the void left by Danny Granger, both Paul George and Lance Stephenson more than answered the call in his stead. Once playing alongside George in 2015, will Hill be poised to make a leap?

The Pacers will just have to wait and see...

At college, sometimes the freebie would turn out to be a delicious lunch from a popular takeout restaurant making the long wait in line for students well worth it. But, on other occasions, the university would handout muffs - yes, the winter accessory resembling a tube that you place your hands in for warmth - or, perhaps worse, a really outdated tie-dye T-shirt.

Back then, the students had no clue what exactly they would be given when they reached the front of the line, and, in a year from now, the Pacers may not either.

  • Will Paul George be ready for the 2015-2016 season?
  • Will the Pacers be able to replace their core, if need be?
  • Will Solomon Hill come into his own after a year of earning steady minutes?

As is the present, in 12 months from now the Pacers - stuck in limbo - might still have more questions than answers. However, after pledging to put a team on the floor in the upcoming season that strives to win every game, I would like to imagine a 2015 for the Blue-and-Gold where, out of the ashes, they are simply waiting for a fully restored franchise player and new era to arise.

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How do you envision the Pacers' future 12 months from now? Is it easier to look down the road than to focus on the here and now? Will the new lottery system find favor with the Pacers? Will the team be able to attract any high quality free agents? Will Solomon Hill be poised to make a leap?  Will the core still be here?