The Indiana Pacers are the best team in the league right now. Even though they lost to lowly Orlando by a point on Monday, they still have a three game lead on the Miami Heat in the East. They are also in a race for the best record in the league with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder stand at 41-12, the Indiana Pacers at 39-11. It will be interesting to see who wins out on home court through all of the playoffs, as that could be the difference between a title and getting second. Just ask the Miami Heat. Last year, they had home-court advantage, and needed it in every round, including in the finals with San Antonio.
The Indiana Pacers are playing like the best team in the NBA right now. All season long, they have owned the league’s best defense and have kept defying the critics at every turn. At first, they weren’t even supposed to keep up with the Miami Heat, but now they are three games ahead of them and challenging for the best record in the NBA.
The only reason there is any doubt that the Pacers are the best team in the NBA is because their offense ranks in the 20’s. On the other side, the Indiana Pacers’ defense is an NBA best at a stunning 90.7 points a game, with second place coming in at 93.0 points a game. Tightening up their offense and keeping their defense tight will keep Indiana on pace to be the best team in the NBA.
Indiana has signed Andrew Bynum, who, despite not playing since being signed, will surely find a spot backing up Hibbert as the back-up center after the All-Star break. This is another thing no writer could have seen coming. In the summer, even pre-season people were talking about how Bynum being traded to the 76ers was going to be such a great thing.
Bynum has been traded from the 76ers to the Chicago Bulls, and now finally to Indiana. And consider this: he signed on in Indiana for $1 million. He started this year making around $10 million. This is a great pick up for Indiana, no matter how it happened.
Hibbert is a beast, and now Indiana has two with Bynum. The scary thing to consider is that Bynum is still just 26, and Hibbert is only 27 years old. These two could be a one-two punch in the interior for a long time to come, depending on their health.
Another reason Indiana is formidable, is that anyone at anytime is capable to step up when needed, and contribute. The difference between their starters and bench players is very little drop-off; where other teams have a great starting unit, the Indiana Pacers have 10 very good players, but can only start five at a time.
And to think, three years ago, they got bounced in the first round two years ago, got knocked out by Miami in the second round, and then last year got beat by Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals. Now, this year, the Indiana Pacers look like the best in the NBA.
By Justin Watts