Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Indiana Pacers Will Win the Central Division Again in 2013-14

In the 2012-13 NBA season, the Central division was won by the 49-32 Indiana Pacers, led by the surging Paul George, and in 2nd place were the 45-37, Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls. Heading into the 2013-14 season, almost everyone thinks the Bulls will easily win the Central division because of Derrick Rose's comeback, along with the addition of Mike Dunleavy and Jimmy Butler looking to build on his best season yet.

Even though Chicago got back Derrick Rose, after he took the whole 2012-13 season off to rest his knee, they lost Richard Hamilton, Marco Belinelli and one of the biggest reasons why the Bulls were still so good without Rose in the lineup, Nate Robinson. The Chicago Bulls will go as far as Derrick Rose takes them and their championship hopes lie on whether Rose will be the same after the injury, which looks likely with all these videos of him dunking in the off-season and the Bulls most recent preseason game. Chicago has a chance to win the division but people cease to forget about what Indiana did in the off-season.

Indiana lost key components of their amazing bench from the 2012-13 season, including D.J. Augustin, Gerald Green and Tyler Hansbrough, but now have an even better bench for the up-and-coming season, with the additions of Chris Copeland, C.J. Watson and Luis Scola. They lost their backup PG, SF and PF and gained even better players in those positions. Copeland will be what Gerald Green was never, which was bring a complete game to the table. C.J. Watson played admirably in Brooklyn, backing Deron Williams up, averaging 6.8 PPG and 2.0 APG, as well as a career high 41% from three, in 19 MPG. In Scola, the Pacers gained a starting PF, who is going to play off of the bench for them.

 Even though Scola had an off year for the lowly Suns team, he still averaged 12.8 PPG and 6.6 RPG on 47% from the field, in 26.6 MPG. If you increase those to per 36 minutes numbers, they are 17.3 PPG and 8.9 RPG, which is closer to David West's numbers for the Pacers. The Pacers know what they'll get out of Luis Scola and that is the knack to score, solid rebounding and decent defense. Add those three to Ian Mahinmi, Orlando Johnson and Soloman Hill, who are all good in their own way, and the Pacers look to have one of the top 5 benches in the NBA. Many people forget about a crucial cog for Indiana, that's coming back this season. That crucial cog is Danny Granger, who'll fill the starting SF or SG spot in the line-up or be the team's 6th man, with the resurgence of the ever-improving Lance Stephenson. The 2013-14 season is Paul George's wedding and Danny Granger is his best man.

That's how the season will go like for them; George carrying the bulk of the scoring load while Granger letting him be the top dog, as he was for a few seasons in Indiana. George Hill will give the Pacers his normal, steady production and the same goes for David West. Roy Hibbert will look to improve on his best season yet and be the defensive anchor that he was in the 2012-13 season.

With the Indiana Pacers offense revamped for the 2013-14 season and them already having a top 5 defense, watch out for the Pacers to be even better than last season; expect 50-55 wins.

Follow Harvin Bhathal on Twitter (Vinchenzo_34) for the latest tweets about sports and what not.

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