A (Fairly) Happy New Year for the Pacers
The Pacers head into the new year with an 18-13 record, good enough for first in the Central Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. All without the services of Danny Granger, their leading scorer from the past five seasons.
So, are they happy?
“Yes and no,” coach Frank Vogel said.
“You always look and feel there’s a few games you should have gotten and could have gotten. But I’m happy with where we’re at. I think have a good feeling about our team. Guys are feeling good about their roles, the attitude and spirit is strong and very positive and they feel they can beat anybody on any night. When you believe that, you have a chance to do some special things.”
David West, the most veteran team member and its best leader, was equally split.
“It’s hard to win in this league, so we’ll take it,” he said. “Even though we’ve had some injuries, we still should probably have a few more than we have. You just have to continue to look ahead. I thought for the last few weeks, guys have done a good job of adjusting, studying film, implementing things on the fly, just being professional about it.”
Vogel and West agree the greatest area for improvement is on offense, an obvious fact. The Pacers lead the NBA in field goal defense, and are percentage points behind Memphis in points allowed, but ranked 28th in scoring heading into Monday’s game against the Grizzlies.
Danny Granger’s return should help that, but further improvement is needed.
“We still have to mature offensively,” West said. “We’ve got to be willing to make plays and can’t worry about making mistakes.
“And our defense, as good as it is, we still have major, major gaps and missed assignments. We’re going to continue to try to get better every single day we come in the gym.”