This is a team that has never recovered from the November, 2004 brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills versus the Detroit Pistons and their fans. They recently rid, themselves of Jamaal Tinsley who was the last member of the Pacers involved in one of the most infamous acts in NBA history. Remember it was Tinsley, once most the ruckus had settled down, who grabbed a dustpan and raised it over his head in an attempt to get back into the fight. Kind of fitting that he was the last Pacer involved to be swept out of town.
Since that day, now five years ago, Pacers President Larry Bird has attempted to remake the Pacers roster. Remember this was a team with Jermaine O’Neil, Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, and Tinsley all in their primes. Instead of making multiple runs at NBA titles a series of off the court troubles and the brawl at the Palace has set this team far behind. Now Pacers fans would just like a return trip to the NBA playoffs, once their expectations were the NBA finals or bust.
After finishing the lat two seasons 36-46, and their 2008-09 season never really got started as injuries plagued this team for the get go. Bird remade the roster a year ago and is still waiting for some players to step up. One of those players is Danny Granger. He seems to be the Phoenix rising from the ashes of the Artest Pacers. Granger was drafted 17th overall in 2005, and during last season evolved into an all star caliber player. Averaging 25.8 point per game he was named last season’s most improved player.
For the coming season to be a success the Pacers will need Mike Dunleavy to return from an injury and contribute big time. However Dunleavy will miss all of training camp while his knee heals. The Pacers also added 13th overall pick Tyler Hansbrough to the mix, and that may just be the steal of the 2009 NBA draft. While he has been sidelined with a shin injury, the Pacers are counting on him to step up big time in his rookie campaign.