Oh the season. Oh the season! Election or NBA, both are upon us. We're getting into the spirit by bringing you our season previews (with a little help from the presidents). One per day for the next 30 days—which will bring us to the Day of Reckoning. So please join us on the campaign trail as we shake hands, kiss babies and sink jumpers.
"Armed neutrality, it now appears, is impracticable." - Woodrow Wilson
I don't mean to speak for an entire generation here, but I think I can safely say that for folks my age (27), it's pretty easy to forget that Woodrow Wilson LED OUR COUNTRY INTO A GODDAMNED WAR. The GREAT war. I mean, what do you think about when you think about Woodrow Wilson? Glasses! Smartypants! The '20s, maybe? But surprise, Woodrow Wilson sent over four million soldiers to kill and be killed with, for the first time, machine guns, tanks and submarines. That's right, forget about women's suffrage, the Federal Reserve Act and the "He kept us out of war" re-election slogan. Dude could be pretty aggro. Once again, I'm sorry if this is all common knowledge, but I think we Gen Y dummies need reminding that this guy was not your grandmother's guy who looks like your grandfather.
You know who else went to war? Last year? The Indiana Pacers. With the Miami Heat. In the Eastern Conference semis. "Oh yeah," you're saying, "That was a pretty intense series, right? What was it, six games?" Yes. Six intense games that nearly broke the Heat down, nearly stalled them for good on their road to proving correct the laws of human physics. The Pacers, you see, were then and are now much more than cornfields, three pointers and snoozy home games. They are not sitting in a Midwestern ivory tower of mediocrity like they were—to this Knicks fan's delight—for so many years. This team is serious, and like Woody, pretty fucking dangerous.
What more do you need to know about star of NBC hit sitcom "Parks & Recreation" Roy Hibbert? With Dwight gone and this being a contract year, he'll put up a good fight against Bynum for the title of best center in the East. [Ed. - Myself and Brook Lopez would like to point out that this is a three-man race.] It seems like every year we all talk about his potential, and he has indeed improved each season. With his defensive mastery intact, Hibbert just needs to up his scoring average by about two points, and he should be an automatic All-Star. The ceiling on him remains so high that it's gaudy, and he should be able to reach that ceiling, because he is very very tall.
Danny Granger just needs to show up this year looking like he shot the ball once during the offseason. Last season, he didn't. But barring another horrendous start out of the gate, he should look like Regular Danny Granger, which is pretty damn good. Not 2008-2009 good, but then again, Granger shouldn't need to score as much now as he did then. The Pacers arsenal of young talent can help pick up any slack; Paul George and George Hill both may have breakout years in them. It will especially help Hill that D.J. Augustin, who is more of a pure point guard, is now there.
David West is certainly not The Guy here, as he often had to be in New Orleans, but he still offers a good mid-range presence, which is increasingly important for teams who wish to compete in the Age of Boshquarius. No Regard Logoman Gerald Green should produce a nice spark off the bench, and Tyler Hansbrough, Ian Mahinmi and rookie Miles Plumlee will all contribute down low.
The bottom line is this: The Indiana Pacers have to be talked about as one of only a couple teams in the East that could knock off Miami and make it the Finals. They'll get a head start in the Central Division while the Bulls are sans Rose, and one can see momentum becoming this team's best friend. The Heat know these guys can ball, and something tells me that for all that team's confidence and talent, they are praying nightly not to meet the Pacers in the playoffs.
This team, like Woodrow Wilson, can do damage when they need to. Just ask the Germans.
Rushed Pull-Up Jumpers
Pokemon who the team should adopt as its new mascot: Blastoise
Headline we’ll be most sick of reading: “By George, I think they've got it!”
Headline we’re most looking forward to: “Roy Hibbert to serve as guest warm-up comic for Aziz Ansari standup special”
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you enter the pearly gates?: “So... what exactly do you guys do for fun in Indiana? ... Yikes, sorry about that.”