Change is a part of life. Smoking is no longer allowed on airplanes. As an ex-smoker that took multiple trips to Asia, it boggles my mind that we were allowed to puff in the back of the airplane. GOOD CHANGE. Turning the channel when watching a game due to boredom, then missing the play that blows up Twitter. BAD CHANGE. The Texas Blind Salamander. A creature that had its eyes reduced to two black spots over time. WHEN SITUATION FORCES CHANGE. Before I continue, the Texas Blind Salamander truly fascinates me. It had eyes. So, a male and female salamander fell into a cave together one day millions of years ago? They obviously had sex and made baby salamanders. I gotta imagine that they all tried to find their way back up, but just continued having sex and figuring out ways to survive. Over time, evolution just said, F it. No need for those things anymore. Welcome to your New World Order. I salute you Texas Blind Salamander. Why am I talking about change in Pacers preview? Well, for starters, the state voted for Obama back in 2008. CHANGE. Then, eight years later, the state went back to its Republican roots and backed Trump. CHANGE. Alright, let me back off the politics before I get told to “go back to my country,” even though I was born here. Before the 2016 season, Larry Bird replaced Frank Vogel with Nate McMillan at head coach. After the season, Larry Bird stepped down. Then, Paul George, their best player was traded. Lot of change went down for the Pacers last season.
2016 record: 42-40
- T. J. Leaf via draft
- Victor Oladipo via trade
- Domas Sabonis via trade
- Darren Collison via free agency
- Bojan Bogdanovic via free agency
- Cory Joseph via trade
- Paul George via trade
- Jeff Teague via free agency
- C. J. Miles via free agency
- Aaron Brooks via free agency
- Lavoy Allen via free agency
- Monta Ellis via free agency
Remember all that stuff I wrote in the intro? Well, change is not always a good thing. I think the top seven spots in the East are locked down by the Celtics, Cavs, Raptors, Wizards, Bucks, Heat, and 76ers. The rest are going to battle it out for the eighth and final playoff spot. Could they nab that last spot? Sure. But I could just as easily see them under .500.
PG – Darren Collison and Cory Joseph will lock down the point guard duties. The Pacers went from 10th to 18th in pace after McMillan became head coach. With Collison and Joseph, I’d expect the pace to creep back up this season. Collison shoots a high percentage, especially from three-land and the charity stripe, will dish out some dimes, and get his pilfer on. Don’t expect much in boards and blocks. Joseph is an athletic guard who is more scorer than shooter. Expect plenty of pick-and-roll when he’s on the court, as he ran it 45.1% of the time last season, good for 19th in the league.
SG – The main piece in unloading PG13 was Victor Oladipo. He returns to the state where he played college ball, so there’s that. Too bad he won’t be playing against college players. With that said, who is Oladipo? Is he a potential superstar on the verge of breaking out? Or is he an inefficient black hole who doesn’t make his teammates better? I did rank him pretty high because I do believe that he’s talented and will receive a ton of usage, but….I do have some doubts about him and acknowledge that he could be who he’s shown to be the last three years of his career. Lance Stephenson will be backing up Dipo. Man, Lance is the “dumb as a post hot girl/guy” of the NBA. He’s 6′ 5″ 230 pounds. Was Mr. New York Basketball in 2009. Everyone is always willing to give him a chance. But then, they all realize that he can’t shoot, but will try. And won’t do anything else.
SF – Bojan Bogdanovic is a good shooter, but do you really want him starting for your team? Maybe if the alternative is Glenn Robinson III. Bojan will contribute 3s and shoot a high percentage from the line and three-land. He’s a defensive liability, though, and won’t contribute in any other category.
PF – Thaddeus Young should soak up most of the minutes at power forward. Domantas Sabonis and T. J. Leaf still need a lot of developing to do. Young shoots at a high percentage from the field and will chip in from three-land, but he’s horrendous at the charity stripe. He’ll chip in on the glass, but a lot of his value comes in the steals department.
C – Myles Turner. Oh, how I love thee. He is so good and is only 20 years old. He can score from inside and three-land, shoots a high percentage at the charity stripe, rebounds, pilfers, and is elite in blocks. Al Jefferson is backing up Myles. If Al finds a way onto your roster, either the Pacers are in deep shit or your fantasy squad is in deep shit.