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Pop the Pacers, Please

The Indiana Pacers are stuck in a down period of the player development cycle. On the one hand, they have Danny Granger locked up for a long time. That is unequivocally good. On the other hand, they took on Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy from the Warriors, and, as useful as both guys are, those contracts are tough to work around. Dunleavy and Murphy are each making Gerald Wallace money and are tied up for another two seasons after this one.

Granted, I love Troy Murphy, but just as I love Emeka and still worry that we didn't get a particularly good deal on his contract, he's dropped off somewhat from his peak production a few years back, hasn't bounced back, and will likely be overpaid for the rest of the deal. Dunleavy finally scored like a primary option last year, but that was the first time he's done it in his career, and we can't expect that to continue. These are the two highest paid players on the Pacers, and, at best, they'll be the third and fourth most important pieces in the team's eventual return to prominence, after Granger and Roy Hibbert. Most likely, Dunleavy and Murphy won't be a part of a return to glory.

For now, Dunleavy is out with bone spurs in his knee, so that leaves Granger as the only real scoring threat on the squad. Assume that Gerald will guard him, and that leaves the Cats with a likely advantage at three of the other four positions if Ajinca plays, and they'll possibly be even or better at all four of the other spots if Dudley plays good defense on Murphy.


Remember when the Pacers were one of the teams to beat in the East?

All I want is that feeling Pacers fans had, circa 1995. You know that feeling when a three ball goes up, the whole crowd breathes in, and then shouts when it splashes home? I want more.

Now that we know the Bobcats are drawing horrendous TV ratings, I'm more afraid than ever that Bob Johnson and Michael Jordan have botched this thing beyond saving. There is so much ill will to overcome at the moment, and the current regime isn't up to addressing it.