Will the Indiana Pacers break out?
ESPN.com and the TrueHoop Network
Originally Published: August 23, 2011
5-on-5: The Central's second-best team is looking to get in the postseason habit
Danny Granger's PER of 17.89 ranked 55th in the NBA last season, tops among the Indiana Pacers. Granger stands as the cornerstone of the Indiana Pacers franchise, even as his field goal percentage and PER again declined from his performance in the 2008-09 season.
Will the Pacers' complementary pieces improve, giving the Pacers hope for advancing past the first round for the first time since 2004-05?
We continue our Central Division tour with a look at the youthful Indiana Pacers, the No. 8 East playoff seed last April that impressed with a spirited effort in a five-game, first-round exit at the hands of the regular-season champ Chicago Bulls.
1. Fact or Fiction: Darren Collison is the answer at PG.
Tim Donahue, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fiction. Darren Collison may be an answer at the point, but not the answer. His offensive game suffered greatly from the lack of a quality pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop partner, but the permanent problems are his size and his defense. That being said, a Collison/George Hill combo is good enough to allow the Pacers to focus on other needs first.
John Hollinger, ESPN.com: Fact, sort of. Teams have won big with worse point guards, and I certainly wouldn't call him a liability. But Collison by himself isn't a difference-maker, even if the Pacers can convince him to convert some of those 22-foot 2s of which he's so fond into 3-pointers -- he's small and doesn't see the floor well.
Jonathan Santiago, Cowbell Kingdom: Fiction. If the Pacers were completely sold on Collison, would they have traded for George Hill? Probably not.
Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: Fact. Collison is a perfect complement to a rebuilding project like the Pacers. He's an excellent passer and can score to some degree, but he's unselfish enough that there isn't going to be any Russell Westbrook thing going on when he gets better. Playing under Chris Paul did him a world of good.
Jared Wade, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fiction. Collison struggled until Jim O'Brien was canned so I do expect improvement. But he is a young, quick point who should have flourished running a fast-paced offense for a team devoid of leadership. Instead, during his second season, he dropped off statistically in all the categories that matter and tallied double-digit assists in just four games.
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