Everyone obviously knows that the 2009-2010 Season is coming up in not too long. While the players prepare very hard for the season, I figured I'd give my own opinions of where this team may be headed and how I think the individuals will do.
Owns some potential at the point guard position. While he has played nicely off the bench for us in previous years, it's hard for me to imagine he will be getting much play time for us barring some type of string of injuries. In my opinion, a player worthy of being trade bait at some point in a package. Could be traded for a second rounder, or to fill the need at another position. With the play time he has, he needs to improve on his defense, but provides a relatively consistent long ball when needed late in games.
One of the Pacers top scorers of the past few seasons is obviously plagued with injury. If he could become healthy, he can certainly step into this rotation as a starter and spread the floor nicely. I would expect him to try to get to the lane on a consistent basis, seeing as he goes up strong on nearly every shot that he takes. Is a great free throw shooter, and spreads the floor very nicely. He will compliment Granger extremely well, as he has done over the past few seasons with us. I feel once he is 100%, he will have the best season he has ever had with us, maybe best in his career.
Expected to start at the Point Guard position for the Pacers this upcoming season. He could be given a little bit of competition by new Point Guard Earl Watson, but I see it unlikely he will lose his starting job. One of the more creative point guards in the league, he should still have a good amount of assists with the Pacers and the many scoring threats we have on the team. I am a little bit concerned with some of the sloppy play he tends to have, but then again, who doesn't play bad occasionally? Free throw shooting needs to improve (In the Clutch), he shot it pretty well overall last season. If he stays healthy, gives us a speedy player who can run the floor to Jim O' Brien's liking.
The longest tenured Pacer, Foster returns to the team as the veteran. I still see him playing Center this year backing up Roy Hibbert, even though I always felt like he would be better off playing the 4 because of his smaller size standing at only 6'10. However, despite his growing age, expect him to be scrappy on the boards still, while he provides energy coming off the bench, and maybe at times, starting. I expect to still see plenty of him, making the assumption that Hibbert will still have some trouble with the fouls. He's not gong to score a lot of points, and he isn't going to load the stat sheet. But the experience he brings is immeasurable, and he will continue to do much of the dirty work for the blue and gold.
Where do I start on this one? I would expect nothing less of Danny to once again come out and prove to the rest of the NBA that he is indeed one of the elite players of the league. I expect somewhere around 25 ppg again, and for his defense to improve. He has always been criticized for his lack of defense, and I for one, have always felt it was respectable. He is athletic, and often times will come from behind for blocks, and picks up on screens very well. He will be the go-to-guy once again, and I would expect him to again hit some crucial shots for us over the course of the year. With the added defensive approach the Pacers have now adopted, I expect him to lead us into the Playoffs for the first time in years.
Still nursing an injury, it seems unlikely we will see much of Hansbrough in this preseason. I don't know the exact severity of his injury, so it could ultimately be a while until we see him. However, I remain optimistic that he will be able to play in the season opener for us. A straight up hustle player, he has never been a pretty player. He will be much like a smaller version of Jeff Foster, except with a better touch. He will get those loose balls, battle for rebounds, crash the offensive boards, and I expect he will be at the foul line quite a bit. However, many of the shots he got off in college will get swatted in this league, so hopefully he can adjust his shot once he initiates contact.
Don't know a ton about Head, but I have watched him back in the day when he played at Illinois. A great shooter, I would expect him to spread the floor and be able to take those short little jumpers, as well as knock down the 3 ball. He has quite a bit of athletic skills, and can run the floor. With the injury to Mike Dunleavy, it appears possible that he will maybe get some time playing the 2 position behind Dahntay Jones and Brandon Rush. Larry didn't sign him for no reason, so I would expect he can contribute immediately.
A good addition last season, I expect Roy to be more well prepared to play defense. He struggled heavily with foul trouble last year, and I would hope that he has learned how to defend more effectively without fouling out. A great mid range jumper and a smooth jump hook should play into his arsenal of weapons. I would hope to see him averaging double digits in points this season, and I can see his rebounding average improving as well. Should start this season, and can be an effective defender.
In my opinion, a very reliable signing this off season. Some people think that the Pacers overpaid him, but regardless, that doesn't really matter now. It is what it is, and he will be a great addition to the team. A relentless, in your face type of defender, he should give us a wing player who could play the 2 or the 3 positions when needed. He can also shoot the 3 ball for us, even though scoring is not his main priority. He will provide a lock down defender to play against guys like LeBron and Wade and company.
A 6'10, seldom used young forward from Atlanta, I can see Jones working his way into the Pacers front court rotation, especially with the Hansbrough injury. I haven't watched much of his game besides Youtube clips, which doesn't really give me a good idea of how he plays. However, everything I have watched and read has indicated he has some very good shot blocking skills. He is one of the University of South Florida's all time shot blocking leaders, so expect him to be able to provide some difficulties down low for opponents. If he can develop an offensive game, he could really provide a strong threat with his 7'4 wingspan, and hops out the roof.