I can see clearly now, the rain is gone. The lockout has lifted, we have a season, can I get an Amen? (Amen.) And in the spirit of renewal, our shiny new cadre of writers is putting together previews for all 30 teams in true HP style. From where teams are going to what their disgrace is to explorations of pop culture, we are about to rock, salute us, can I get an Amen? (Amen.) So sit back, relax, and ponder the awesomeness of this fully operational Hardwood Paroxysm 3.0. -Ed.Â
QUO VADIMUS (WHERE ARE WE GOING?)
by Amin Vafa
Where are these Pacers going? Up. Whether itâ€™s because other teams in the East (and the West, for that matter) have gone down, or itâ€™s because itâ€™s the Pacersâ€™ turn to be good again, these guys are going up. You know what? Letâ€™s not sell them short. This team is going up not because of the shortfalls of others but because it has made smart moves over the past few seasons, even in the face of economic demise. The team began revamping its personality and roster after the infamous Brawl in 2004, and slowly but surely it has reemerged as a team full of young, talented players on reasonable contracts. The Pacers have a coach (Frank Vogel) thatâ€™s good at coaching, and all the players seem to like him. Novel, eh?
Oh, and they managed to do something fans of every small market team consistently complain they canâ€™t do: they signed a major free agent (David West) during free agency to (again) a very reasonable deal. Howâ€™d they do it? See above. So with a core of West, Collison, Granger, Hill, Hands-Bro, and Hibbert, these guys not only have a secure foothold as the second-best team in the Central Division, but theyâ€™ll no doubt be a staple in the Eastâ€™s playoff seedings for years to come.
A Brief Video Interlude
by Andrew Lynch
Before: A Pacers team almost bad enough to miss the playoffs last year when 36 wins would have gotten them in.
After: A Pacers team shooting for the stars of mediocrity by adding David West and George Hill. The problem is that signing a contract, be it for a weight loss scheme or an above-average power forward, doesnâ€™t guarantee results. And even if you do the necessary work, you still might be wearing a pink business suit and shoulder pads wider than Oliver Miller.
Popular Theories in Basketball-Cultural Cross-References
by Sean Highkin
Roy Hibbert on Parks & Recreation:
NBA Twitter loves two things like no other: NBC’s Parks & Recreation and the 2011-12 Indiana Pacers. It makes sense that the two are linked, beyond just being based in the same state: both are unconventional and lacking in traditional star power, but often more intriguing and compelling than the teams and shows that get higher ratings. Amy Poehler is Parks’ Danny Granger, its star, but neither is thought of by the general public as part of the same tier as the bigger names in their field. The prized newcomer is David West, who, like Parks’ Adam Scott, joined the cast after the demise of a beloved but doomed unit (the Chris Paul-era Hornets, Party Down). Both feature sneaky-good role players (Paul George, Aubrey Plaza). And of course, there’s Roy Hibbert’s onscreen friendship with Tom Haverford (I wish the video here could be more than two seconds long, but NBC doesn’t think anybody should be allowed to watch their videos online ever). The Pacers may bomb like 7Twenty Entertainment, but I like their chances as a dark horse of the ilk of Leslie Knope’s budding political career.