Game Changing Questions

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The Indiana Pacers season is approaching its home stretch; with the playoffs and a championship run in sight, The Game Changer has some glaring questions to answer about our hometown team.

 

Pacers1. Is this the year the Pacers will win the NBA title or are more improvements needed before they can challenge for a championship?

 

With the best Eastern Conference record so far this season, the Pacers are shooting for the No. 1 seed to allow them home court advantage in the playoffs against the Miami Heat. With the NBA’s best defense, an emerging superstar in Paul George and a dependable second unit, the Pacers will only continue to improve. The front office has locked in Paul George, Roy Hibbert, George Hill, and David West to long contract extensions, and will most likely extend Lance Stephenson’s contract this offseason, leading to the starting five remaining intact for years to come. With the likes of CJ Watson, Luis Scola and now Evan Turner, this year’s second team has been the strongest in recent memory and has been a big part of the season’s success. Indiana is by far the league’s best defensive team and thetwo big men in Roy Hibbert and David West cause matchup problems for every NBA team. This season is definitely a huge opportunity for the Pacers to win the NBA title, as the Eastern Conference is particularly weak this season, but even if they don’t bring home the title this June, the Indiana Pacers will have plenty of chances for many championships in the future.  –Alex Yom

 

I believe that this is the year for the Indiana Pacers to win the NBA title. They have the most well balanced roster in the league. Small forward Paul George looks like a first team All-NBA selection and center Roy Hibbert is an early lock for defensive player of the year. On any given day, any starter on the Pacers can have a great game. In addition, the Pacers are the best defensive team in the league and it will be hard to defeat a team with great defense. Also, the Eastern Conference is very thin this year as the Miami Heat are the only other contender in the conference. And assuming if the Pacers have the best record in the league by the end of this season, home court advantage will be vital as the Pacers have only lost three home games this year. This year’s Pacers team is similar to the San Antonio Spurs’ approach when they won the NBA Finals in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007. They play with defense and discipline first and let the offense follow. If this approach helped the Spurs win four NBA championships, I see no reason why the Pacers can’t win an NBA championship too. This is the year that the Pacers get rid of its underdog identity and bring the first NBA championship to the city of Indianapolis. –Arsalan Siddiqui

 

I would say that we have all of the pieces. Obviously, we can take on the Miami Heat, and that is our number one priority. The East is really weak, so if we take out Miami, it is a one-way road to becoming the champions. We have enough big men, with probably the best and deepest frontcourt in the league, and our defense is historic. Defense wins championships in a 7 game series, so that already puts us at an advantage over teams like Portland, which is all about offense. Some people would say that our backcourt might need a spot up shooter, but it is scary how quickly Lance Stephenson or George Hill can take over a game when we need them to. This is our year. –Rushi Patel

 

 

4b4672c9d38de6352145b7d99c63e2d62. Will the trade for Evan Turner help the Pacers win the NBA Title?

 

 

The Pacers were looking to shop former all-star Danny Granger all throughout trade deadline day, initially finding little that pleased them. It was therefore surprising to see that Granger was traded right before the deadline, for a great player at that.  Turner should be an upgrade over the aging Danny Granger; he was the leading scorer on the 76ers and will be a huge addition to our bench. Turner’s contract also ends at the end of this season, giving us plenty of room to resign Lance Stephenson. Initially, I thought this was a sure championship-winning move, catapulting the Pacers over the Heat. But the more I think about it, the trade might not mean a guaranteed championship run. Evan Turner only averaged 17.4 points a game because he played over 30 minutes a game, far more than what the Pacers will give him. He’s also a poor shooter, making only 28% of his three-point shots. He is however, a playmaker. He can create his own shots on offense, which is important for a sixth-man role that he’ll play. The surprising last-minute trade is a huge improvement over Danny Granger, but it doesn’t really make the Pacers much more of a threat then they already are.  –Alex Yom

 

 

While former Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger was an integral piece in helping the Pacers return to dominance, it was time to let him go. Sure Granger was a nice player to have off the bench but his stats weren’t the greatest. Granger is only averaging 8.3 points per game this year and was shooting at an uninspiring 35.9%. In addition, Granger was one of the weakest defensive players on a Pacers squad that prides itself on defense. As a result, the Pacers traded Danny Granger to the Philadelphia 76ers for Evan Turner. Turner is having a career year so far. Turner is averaging 17.4 points per game along with a decent 42.8% shooting percentage this season. Those numbers were similar to Pacers forward Paul George’s numbers last year. Is it necessary for Evan Turner to replicate those numbers for the Pacers? No. However, he will be a nice addition off the bench and he will play a vital role for the Pacers in their attempt to finally bring an NBA title to their franchise. Ultimately, general manager Kevin Pritchard made a smart decision by trading Granger for Turner. Turner is essentially an upgrade from Granger. While Granger was the Pacers’ star during the “dark ages”, it’s time to move on to a brighter era of Pacers basketball and hopefully, Turner will assist in bringing the elusive NBA championship to the Indiana Pacers. –Arsalan Siddiqui

 

 

 

 

3. Andrew Bynum is now practicing with the team after being signed on Feb. 3rd, what are your expectations for him this season?

 

Practicing with the team is a good sign, but Coach Frank Vogel still doesn’t expect Andrew Bynum to play in a game for several more weeks. When Bynum does come on the court, expect him to be a solid bench player. He averaged over eight rebounds with the Cavaliers. Plus the former all-star brings a better offensive game than the current backup center Ian Mahinmi, but he’ll have to earn his minutes on a solid Pacers’ roster.  Most importantly, Bynum is another big man that the Heat will struggle to match up with.  Playing him for about 10 minutes behind Roy Hibbert and Bynum will give the Pacers many rebounds and solid inside scoring.  –Alex Yom

 

I expect Andrew Bynum to serve as a reliable backup. With Roy Hibbert and David West as the starters and arguably the best big man duo, Bynum and Luis Scola are the best big man duo off the bench. On a good day, Bynum is a reliable defender and a solid rebounder. On a bad day, Bynum is an injury prone, locker room headache. However, Vogel dealt with Stephenson, who was a controversial player when he joined the Pacers, and transformed him to a high-octane, hard-working player. Fortunately for Bynum, the Pacers are one of the most disciplined teams in the NBA and they can discipline Bynum. I expect Bynum to play around 15 minutes a game where he can be a good source of the bench, but the Pacers don’t need him to do too much. –Arsalan Siddiqui

 

Practically none. Play a few good minutes to give Hibbert some rest, and that is about it. I am one of the conspiracy theorists that think that the Pacers signed Bynum just to keep him away from the Heat. I don’t see how he can get significant playing time behind arguably the best and deepest frontcourt in the league. We simply do not need him, and I think Frank Vogel knows this, which is why he hasn’t gotten playing time already.  –Rushi Patel

 

 

 

The Game Changer is a sports blog from the HiLite, Carmel High School’s award winning student news magazine. Our bloggers share a love for sports and cover college and professional teams from all across Indiana. 

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