The last time the Indiana Pacers were relevant, Reggie Miller had them in playoff contention and was fighting with the Bulls and Knicks. He had them close to a championship during that time. They finally made it against the Lakers and lost. Then against the Pistons he had that lay-up that was seen across the world that got blocked by Tayshaun Prince. It was unbelievable to see him get run down and lose the game just from that block. Sad day for Indiana and all their fans. It took the Pacers a very long time to resurface as a household name. But, with patience and time the Pacers have become a team that is physical and talented.
Roy Hibbert came from Georgetown and couldn’t even dribble the ball up and down the court or even make a lay-up. Four years there and he grew into a great draft pick and gradually grew his game over the years with the Pacers.
Paul George came from Fresno State and had the talent that carried the potential of a great player. He is 6’10 and got drafted tenth by the Pacers. They had to know that he was going to be a superstar. It’s his third year in the league and he has already shown that he will be a threat against LeBron James and Kevin Durant, vying for superstardom in the league.
David West, the monster from Xavier, played for the New Orleans Hornets for a long time without being able to showcase his skills in the playoffs. When he signed to the Pacers he showed that he could play in the big games.
Lance Stephenson (who I call Mr. Energetic) came from Cincinnati and already had a great outlook for his career when he entered the league. Last year he showed that he can play with the best and was not going to be left behind for anyone. He has stepped his game up even more and is giving 100% every time he is on the court.
Looking at the talent I named and adding with them valuable players like Luis Scola, CJ Watson, Chris Copeland, Rasual Butler, and already having the talent of Danny Granger, they have a chance of taking down the Miami Heat. They came really close last year and they are still beating themselves up for not defeating them in Game 7.
This year the Pacers started the season on fire, 5-0, with Paul George averaging 26 points and 8 rebounds. Roy Hibbert is averaging 5 blocks a game. What can actually stop this team this year with the way they are playing and with Paul George playing out of his mind right now? The Pacers are letting people know, “Yeah, Reggie Miller was here and now he is gone. It is our time to shine and we aren’t giving in to anyone.” You can actually look at the Pacers and say they have the best chance to beat The Miami Heat this season because they are just too big inside. The Heat does not have anyone on that team to stop Roy Hibbert and you can leave out Greg Oden from the conversation because he hasn’t played a full season since 2009. It is 2013 and people are expecting him to make a presence on the court when they have to play against the Pacers. Hmm no, not happening, because the more the season progresses, Roy Hibbert will get better and better. He is only averaging five points per game but his defense is all they really need from him right now. But, don’t get it twisted, in the playoffs he will see more of the ball and he will dominate on the offensive end because there is no one to stop him from scoring, not even Greg Oden. Even if he does stay healthy the entire season. You can’t sleep on the Pacers anymore. They are coming and they are going to show it this year. I have to say if the chips fall in their favor you will see them walking into the Finals and walking out the champions, giving Reggie Miller and the rest of the fans something to be proud of. Watch out NBA. Pace yourself for the Pacers. They are coming full force and they are bringing that physicality with them.