ESPN was back in prognostication mode today with the release of its NBA Future Power Rankings. Citing Lance Stephenson's departure and Paul George's injury as the main culprits, the Pacers were ranked 18th out of 30 teams in regards to future performance.
For those who aren't familiar with ESPN's Future Power Ranking formula, it annually scores every NBA team according to its players, management, market, draft, and money. For obvious reasons, in comparison to a year ago, the players' score saw the steepest decline, which was punctuated by this damning tidbit:
...George's injury is a big part of it. But that's not the only problem. The team lost Lance Stephenson to free agency this summer, Roy Hibbert was just a shell of himself last season, George Hill posted his worst PER since his rookie season and David West is getting old. The Pacers' two additions this summer -- Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles -- don't really come close to making up that gap.
Ouch. I think it's safe to say the committee doesn't think much of the remaining core, or the new additions. But, hey, on the bright side, the Pacers' received an upgraded draft score due to the fact they're expected to be a lottery team.
I imagine we'll see more pessimistic vibes as the season nears, but luckily for the Pacers, they only have to wait another three weeks or so before they can start the process of proving their detractors wrong.