The Indiana Pacers kick off the 2013-14 season tonight. This season, we’ll take a week-to-week look at who the Pacers will face and how the season is progressing.
The team will enter the season at nearly full strength. The notable exception being Danny Granger who will be held out for the next few weeks with a sore hamstring. While its disappointing not to have him on the court, its not detrimental to the teams success in the short or long term.
Oct. 29th – Orlando Magic at Indiana, 7 pm
Opening night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the Indiana faithful. This game isn’t quite a sell out yet, but its looking like it will be. Expect a fair amount of crimson in the stands as former Hoosiers Victor Oladipo returns to Indiana. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft is an electric player and will forever be a favorite for IU alums and fans. The Magic are in complete rebuild mode and will likely be looking at another lottery pick in next years draft. This should be a relatively easy win right out of the gate for the Pacers. Expect the bench to see a lot of action in the fourth quarter as Indiana notches a convincing win.
Orlando’s 2012-13 Record: 20-62 (worst in the NBA)
Oct. 30th – Indiana at New Orleans Pelicans, 8pm
Another game, another former IU standout. IU alum Eric Gordon welcomes the Pacers to New Orleans for its season opener. The Pelicans, formerly Hornets, are christening the team’s new name which might possibly be the worst in league (and one of the worst animals to name a team after). The Pelicans snagged Nerlens Noel in the draft but it will likely be a while, if not the whole season, before the rookie sees action as he continues to recover from injuries while at Kentucky (side note: why take a player who’s injured? Also, why take a center who weighs 228-pounds?). The roster looks improved and the team had a 7-1 preseason record. Projections have them vying for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Pacers are trying to a avoid a slow start like last season, and that means being undefeated before playing the Bulls next week. Indiana is a much better team than New Orleans and should get the win, but it might not be pretty.
New Orleans’ 2012-13 Record: 27-55
Nov. 2nd – Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana, 7 pm
Through way of the strange lottery draft system, the Cavs had the first pick in the draft following last season. They then surprised the nation by taking Anthony Bennett, a combo forwards from UNLV, with the top pick. Honestly, they would have been better off with Oladipo. The Cavs revamped the roster adding Jarrett Jack, Earl Clark, and most notably Andrew Bynum. While Bynum has fallen off significantly (he missed all of last season with the Sixers) he could be a huge boost to this team. The Cavs also have a stellar deal with him that is very low risk. The team is still led by young phenom Kyrie Irving, easily one of the best point guards in the NBA. The Cavs still need some work and are at least a year out from being a threat in the Central Division to the Pacers or Bulls. Chalk this one up as another win at home for Indiana.
Cleveland’s 2012-13 Record: 24-58
If you paid attention to the records, that’s three teams that failed to win at least 30 games and didn’t even sniff the playoffs. This week should see the Pacers go 3-0 and ready for a couple tough games next week (Bulls, Nets).
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