Is anybody else sick of the "experts" 2013-14 season predictions? Let me first say that even though they seem to make me crazy I keep reading them, so I really have no one to blame but myself. It seems like they all say the same thing most of which seems to come from the ESPN hype machine. The team that currently has me going nuts is the Pacers. The Pacers are a very good team and there seems to be no question in the eyes of the "experts" that they will be the 2 or 3 seed in the East. Keep reading if you have any interest in the ramblings of a crazy basketball fan with to much time on his hands.
Going into last year's playoffs I didn't hear much about the Pacers chance for success, actually I remember some of the "experts" saying the Nets would have been better off with the 6th seed, playing the Pacers, than with the 4th seed and having home court against the Bulls. Not that playing the Bulls worked out well, but the popular opinion was the Rose-less Bulls were a much tougher team than the Pacers. This all changed when the Pacers took the Heat to a game 7. According to the "experts" the Pacers had arrived, they were the real deal. I haven't heard anybody yet say that maybe the Pacers had a great plan to stop the Heat and almost executed it to perfection. The problem is you only really get one shot at that, if David doesn't slay Goliath on the first shot he doesn't get a do-over.
So here is where I come up with all the numbers as to why I feel the Pacers might be the "over-rated" under-rated team. The Pacers took the Heat to a game 7, making their playoff record 11-8. They didn't really cruise through the playoffs. Of those 19 games only two were decided by less than 5 points, not really great playoff basketball. In the games they won they outscored their opponents by 11.25 points and they were outscored by 15.25 in losses. When they're good they're good but when they're bad.
Last season a Bulls beat reporter wrote that the Nets have no heart and everybody took that an ran with it. After this was repeated enough times it somehow became a fact. If "heart" is the ability to come up with wins in tight games how come last season the Nets were 16-6 in games decided by 5 points or less and the Pacers were 11-12 in games decided by 5 points or less. The other thing I recently read was that the Pacers are the Nets in their 20's. Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. There are some very talented young players on the Pacers, but lets keep some perspective here. Paul George is good but I think it's a little early to say he's Paul Pierce good. Paul Pierce is #4 in points scored by active players and #25 all time. George Hill is 27 years old and Deron is 29. Lance Stephenson is 22 and started 72 games as SG last year and averaged 8.8ppg, when Joe Johnson was 22 he averaged 16.7 a games as the fourth scoring option on the Suns. I know Danny Granger is back but does anybody realize that Danny Granger is 30 years old and returning from an injury. He's only two years younger than JJ. David West is a 32 year old PF who I'm not going to waste time trying to show you how he's no Kevin Garnett. Roy Hibbert seems to have had somewhat of a coming out party in last years playoffs. Here are his career per game stats vs Brook Lopez PPG: RH 11.3/BL 17.9; RPG RH 6.8/BL 7.4; BPG RH 1.8/BL 1.7 MPG RH 25.3/BL 33.2. Roy Hibbert is 26 years old Brook Lopez is 25.