Indiana Pacers 2006-07 Preview

One of the most disappointing teams for the past few seasons, the Indiana Pacers have been on a steady decline ever since their former small forward Ron Artest charged into the stands to attack Pistons fans. After losing his replacement, Peja Stojakovic for almost nothing, they find themselves without championship caliber talent for the first time in half a decade.

The anchor for the Pacers is power-forward Jermaine O’Neal. Jermaine is one of the premier post players in the NBA and is by far the best player that the Pacers have. If they want to guarantee themselves a playoff berth, they need to ensure that O’Neal stays healthy and productive for all eighty-two games in the season. This is a high task for a player who has missed a total of 69 games in the past two seasons alone.

The Pacers hope to offset their loss at the small-forward position using two players. The first is last years first round pick of Danny Granger. Granger is a talented player who showed flashes of brilliance in limited playing time last season. Ahead of him on the rotation is a familiar face in Al Harrington. Harrington was traded back to the Pacers after a very productive season with the Atlanta Hawks. If he can continue his improved players, Indiana should have a formidable post presence game-in and game-out.

Starting at the guard positions are Stephen Jackson and Jamaal Tinsley. Tinsley is one of the better point guards in the league when he is able to stay healthy. The problem is that he just can’t stay healthy. Jamaal has missed at least 30 games for the past three seasons. Stephen Jackson is a pretty good shooting guard who sometimes makes bad decisions. His 16-18 points per game adds a much-needed scoring threat from the guard position.

On the bench for the Pacers are newly acquired Marquis Daniels and young players such as Sarunas Jasikevicius and David Harrison. Daniels was an integral member of the Mavericks bench last season and should be a good sixth or seventh man for the Pacers. Harrison and Sarunas were slightly disappointing last season but have the potential to pan out nicely for the Pacers. Sarunas in particular is a deep three-point threat who could add another dimension to the Pacers.

Rick Carlisle has his hands full with the Pacers once again, but he shouldn’t find it a problem to get to the playoffs once again. Winning a playoff series or more, however, is an entirely different story.

Author: Market Junction

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