Indiana Pacers 2014-15 NBA Preview: Roy Hibbert?


May 15, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) and Pacers forward David West (21) stand on the court against the Washington Wizards in game six of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

As we continue our NBA Preview series, we take a closer look at the Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers 2013-14 record: 56-26

Indiana Pacers 2013-14 MVP: Paul George (21.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.9 steals)

Three Things I Think I Know About The Indiana Pacers…

  •  David West and Roy Hibbert will anchor a surprisingly still-solid defense
  • The window for success has closed for this version of the Pacers
  • Extending the contract of head coach Frank Vogel was the right thing to do

Key Additions:

 Key Losses:

The Indiana Pacers will be a playoff team if…

….if everything goes beyond perfect for most of the season and George makes an early and full recovery. In other words, not very likely. The Indiana Pacers making the playoffs would be a nice cap to the season but, ultimately, there’s no hope for them to advance further than the first round. Instead, the 82-game season should be an opportunity to work on the little things, rely on that blue-collar defense that has defined the team for years and, with a little help from a young bench, keep developing for a brighter future when George comes back.

Team Strengths:

This is not easy to pinpoint. Rather than any one aspect of the game itself, Indiana’s biggest strength might be the work ethic and culture that defines the team and its city. Pitting themselves as a rival to Miami for the last four seasons, there was a sense that this team deserved to win because they were better, more hard-working and made the most out of lesser talent. Whether this is true or not doesn’t matter; the belief is real and it inspired the Pacers and their fans. Remaining strong in that conviction, even when the losses start to pile up, will be the calm in this stormy season.

Team Weaknesses:

Throw a dart and watch it land, you’re likely to find a team weakness. West is older, Hibbert may be broken, and this team will struggle to find an identity after losing their two best players (George and Stephenson) this season. As difficult as it was to watch this title-contender limp toward last postseason, there’s a good chance that will be loads better than whatever product the Indiana Pacers put out this year. If you need a single weakness, scoring will be even harder to come by this time around and Indiana could find themselves making the wrong kind of history on the offensive end. 

2014-15 Indiana Pacers MVP will be…

…Frank Vogel. This team has every reason in the world to quit on this season; lowered expectations, an injured superstar, players on short-term contracts looking to cash in. If this season has any kind of success (which could be defined as winning over 40 games and/or making the playoffs), that would be due to Vogel. He can’t rely on the “too young” or “in over his head” excuses this year, not with everything else that’s already handicapped this team’s chances. But if Vogel can get Hibbert to play to his very-high ceiling while getting contributions out of Stuckey, Miles, and a roster-wide tribute to mediocrity, then the coach will be the most valuable “person,” and not player, for Indiana.


Season Defining Question:

Will Roy Hibbert’s fragile psyche be repaired enough to lead this team, both offensively and defensively?

Best Case Scenario:


Worst Case Scenario: