2007 Indiana Pacers Season Preview
The Indiana Pacers have been in a steady decline since their 61-win season in 2003- 2004. The next year, they won 44 and the flowing year just 41. Both seasons, Indiana made the playoffs. Then last season saw the Pacers go 35- 47. The problem in 2006- 2007 stemmed from a monster trade with Golden State where Indiana jettisoned five talented and athletic players for four less talented and less athletic players. It left the team with precious little cohesion.
It was in February that 11-year veteran small forward and super star Jermaine O’Neal (.436 FG%, .000 3P%, .767 FT%, 9.6 RPG, 2.4 APG, 19.4 PPG) was injured. He was having a great season. The loss sent the team into a tailspin. O’Neal is back and that will go a long way in putting up points. The power forward position will likely be the charge of Troy Murphy (.457 FG%, .395 3P%, .745 FT%, 6.1 RPG, 1.9 APG, 10.3 PPG), who can hit from inside and out. Danny Granger (.459 FG%, .382 3P%, .803 FT%, 4.6 RPG, 1.4 APG, 13.9 PPG) has great potential as a scorer but provides little defense. There’s some fine depth off the bench.
In the backcourt, Mike Dunleavy, Jr. (.452 FG%, .313 3P%, .784 FT%, 5.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 12.8 PPG) is finally starting to come into his own as he starts his sixth professional season. Jamaal Tinsley (.389 FG%, .316 3P%, .720 FT%, 3.3 RPG, 6.9 APG, 12.8 PPG), who has been unable to reach his potential due to three straight injury hampered seasons, is back and will need to really come through to silence his critics. Marquis Danielsgives the team depth at the point.
Jim O’Brien takes over for coach Rick Carlisle. Under Carlisle the Pacers had a history for creating problems both on and off the court. O’Brien needs to get some discipline into the team. Can this club make the playoffs? Baring injury, Indiana has added some fine three-point men, which should take some of the offensive pressure off of O’Neal. The questions are does this club have a leader who can take them to the second season and enough energy to play gritty, tough defense.