Two a Days: Indiana Pacers Preview

Paul George and the Pacers have their sights set on the NBA Finals.

Paul George and the Pacers have their sights set on the NBA Finals.

By: Travis Thayer (@TheTravisThayer) 2012-13 Record: 49-32 Projected 2013-14 Finish: 1st in the Central Division Projected Starting Lineup George Hill, PG Lance Stephenson, SG Paul George, SF David West, PF Roy Hibbert, C Key Reserves Danny Granger, F Luis Scola, F C.J. Watson, G Ian Mahinmi, C Chris Copeland, F Danny Granger is returning from injury, but he won’t be on the court for at least another three weeks.  The Pacers and Granger have decided to take things slow, and Granger won’t play until he is 100 percent healthy.  Granger is going to play a big part for the Pacers this year whether he is hurt, playing or traded.  If Granger is healthy, he may be the missing piece to a Pacers team that was minutes away from winning the Eastern Conference last season – or he might be the player that is traded to get the missing piece.  One way or another the Pacers hope Granger is healthy simply so they will have options.  One thing that will be interesting is how Granger will mesh with Paul George.  George emerged as a star last season, and he has surpassed Granger as the best player on the team.  George and Granger could possibly be a dynamic duo, but I don’t think they are going to get the chance in the long run.  Granger is going to have to accept being the “Robin” to George’s “Batman”.  I’m not sure Granger has it in him to not be the lead man, and the Pacers are committed to George being the go-to-guy.  This team is too good to have a possible issue between two very similar players.  Best case scenario is that Granger plays great upon returning, and the Pacers are able to get something for him. The Pacers have one of the most complete teams in the league, and they proved last year the are a team to be reckoned with.  The front-court trio of Roy Hibbert, David West, and Paul George is arguably the best in the entire NBA.  Hibbert and West physically abused the Miami Heat in the playoffs last season, and they again look to be a serious contender to the champs.  Pacers fans should take comfort in the fact that they don’t have to watch Tyler Hansbrough play basketball anymore.  He has been replaced by veteran forward Luis Scola.  Scola is one of the more underrated players in the NBA, and his addition to the Pacers bench shouldn’t go unnoticed.  Scola will bring more scoring and rebound than Hansbrough did, and he is just another guy who can punish other big men down low.  The Pacers also added Chris Copeland and C.J. Watson to their bench, and both players have shown they can hit outside shots.  The Pacers have become a scary team.  They have an emerging superstar in Paul George, and a slew of big men that can control the game.  If the Pacers figure out how to use Granger or trade him to even further upgrade their bench, the Pacers can make the NBA Finals – and they can win the NBA Finals.

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