Good news for the Pacers; bad news for the other Middle-of-the-Pack teams

Dunleavy in Pacers’ opener? Maybe
… Mike Dunleavy might be back sooner than expected, his coach said today.

“Our medical people are very pleased with his progression,” Pacers head coach Jim O’Brien said. “I’ve changed my view point to a pessimistic one from a standpoint of him being ready in the middle of the season to one that I’m hoping he’ll be ready to go for game one.”

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If Indiana was to actualy have a 100% healthy Mike Dunleavy, Jr. back in it’s rotation from the start of the 2009-2010 regular season schedule … in addition to a 100% healthy Danny Granger … then, yours truly would definitely consider the Pacers as yet one more Tier 2A team in the belly of an ever-strengthening Eastern Conference.

Finally having rid themselves of the debilitating Jamaal Tinsley [PG] situation, while adding [i] a low-cost veteran PG [low cost free agent], [ii] a hard-nosed defensive-minded, rebounding, non-shooting role player on the Wing [low cost free agent], [iii] a high motor, physical front-court player [Mid 1st Round Draft Pick], and [iv] an under-rated shot-blocking, non-scoring role playing back-up Center [low cost free agent]:

STARTERS
1 TJ Ford [PG]
2 Dahntay Jones [OG]
3 SF/Danny Granger [SF]
4 Troy Murphy [PF]
5 Roy Hibbert [C]

KEY SUBS
6 Watson [PG]
7 Brandon Rush [OG/SF]
8 Mike Dunleavy, Jr. [OG/SF]
9 Tyler Hansbrough [PF]
10 Solomon Jones [C]

RESERVES
11 Travis Diener [PG]
12 Jeff Foster [PF/C]

EXTRAS
13 AJ Price [PG]
14 ?
15 ?

this would be the type of diversified line-up necessary to compete for a #6-8 playoff spot in the EC from beginning to end.

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4 Responses to “Good news for the Pacers; bad news for the other Middle-of-the-Pack teams”

  1. Raps Fan Says:

    I’m actually a fan of that starting lineup. the dahntay acquisition, though a bit pricey, was a solid move imho.

  2. khandor Says:

    Raps Fan,

    If Jim O’Brien team’s opponent is the Raptors, and he uses a line-up card that looks like this one:

    STARTERS
    PG – Ford vs Calderon
    OG – Jones-D vs DeRozan
    SF – Granger vs Turkoglu
    PF – Murphy vs Bosh
    C – Jones-S vs Bargnani

    BENCH
    PG – Watson vs Jack
    OG – Rush vs Belinelli
    SF – Dunleavy vs Wright
    PF – Hansbrough vs Evans
    C – Hibbert vs Nesterovic

    RESERVES
    G – Diener vs Douby
    PF/C – McRoberts vs Johnson

    it would be interesting to see what percentage of Raptors fans think that he should be quaking in his boots at his prospects for success.

    From my POV, if both Mike Dunleavy, Jr. and Danny Granger are healthy to start the regular season campaign in the fall, Jim O’Brien should actually believe that his squad has at least a fighting chance against the current collection of players assembled by the Raptors.

    What’s your take, in this regard?

  3. JohnTBallin Says:

    Wouldn’t Rush still be the starter?

  4. khandor Says:

    JTB,

    Although Brandon Rush could possibly start for this year’s Pacers, I’m thinking that a cat like Dahntay Jones was brought in specifically for the focus on toughness, rebounding and defense he brings to the table which might be a better fit with the likes of Ford [smallish player] and Granger [finesse scorer], at the starting PG & SF positions, giving better balance to their rotation, overall.

    Bringing the following collection of Key Subs off the bench:

    * Watson [Ast:TO] or Diener [Ast:TO]
    * Rush [scorer]
    * Dunleavy [scorer & playmaker]
    * Hansbrough [energy & rebounding]
    * Hibbert [interior D & boards] or Jones-S [perimeter & interior D, plus shot-blocking & boards] or Foster [mid-range scoring & Bball IQ] … pending individual match-ups

    … would set the Pacers up nicely to contend for a playoff spot this season.

    Moving forward from there, Indiana would then be in a good position to continue their gradual re-build over the next few seasons.

    IMO, the goal here is to add future draft picks, make select trades, and a key free agent or two … when the timing is right … to re-establish the Pacers as one of the elite teams in the EC in the not-too-distant future.

    I, for one, appreciate the path which Larry Bird seems to be taking.

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