I have recently rejoined the CelticsBlog family and I'll be doing their previews for all 30 NBA teams in their annual SBNation team preview project. Each article includes a breakdown of last season, a recap of the teamís summer, a full depth chart, keys to this season and predicted standings.
Next up is your beloved Indiana Pacers. Here's a snippet:
FULL ARTICLE --- INDIANA PACERS 2014-15 PREVIEW - CELTICSBLOG.COM
X-FACTOR - Roy Hibbert
Roy Hibbert's catastrophic downfall in the second half of last season is something that everybody wants to forget about. It was difficult to watch, especially considering how much of an impact it had on the entire team, but that doesn't mean that he can't bounce back. He's got it in him, we have witnessed it before.
When Hibbert is locked in and on top of his game, he is a game changer and one of the best defensive bigs in the NBA. If the Pacers want to make the playoffs this season and avoid lotto land, Hibbert has to play his best basketball to date. Indiana is counting on the big fella to deliver as much as ever, and this is a giant opportunity for him to restore his reputation. If he comes into this season the way he closed out last year, it's going to be tough for the Pacers to compete at a respectable level.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2014-15
You can't lose guys like Paul George Lance Stephenson and expect to play anywhere near the same level. Not only were they Indiana's top two creators with the ball in their hands, they were also two of their better defensive forces. The loss of their two-way impact is going to be very difficult to overcome.
Indiana will have a chance to make the playoffs if everything goes right, but don't be surprised if the Pacers attend their first NBA Draft Lottery since 2010. If the Pacers can't come together to overcome this stage similar to how the Bulls stayed strong through Derrick Rose's injuries, Frank Vogel may be on the hot seat. Plain and simple, this will not be the same team in 2014-15. Hope for the best, Pacers fans, but manage your expectations.
4th - Central Division
11th - Eastern Conference
At the top of the article, we've also included a link to Indy Cornrows' 2014-15 Pacers preview, which they also posted this morning.
Playoffs are a possible destination for the Pacers, but it's going to be tough. What do you guys expect from the team this year, Pacers fans?