Pacers season preview
Its opening night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Thousands of Pacers fans pack the arena in blue and gold. As the starting lineup is introduced, the building erupts. Tonight is the beginning of a new era for the Indiana Pacers. Tonight begins the quest for a championship.
The Indiana Pacers had a busy offseason this past summer. It all started May 5 when the team decided to not sign Coach Frank Vogel which left many Pacers fans angry. Last season Vogel led the Pacers to a 45-37 record which gave them the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Pacers would lose to the Toronto Raptors in an epic seven- game series. After the team let Vogel go, they promoted assistant coach Nate McMillan to head coach. McMillan has been on the Pacers staff since 2013 after he was fired by Portland.
The next move the Pacers made was when they traded point guard George Hill to Utah in a three- team trade that brought them in return guard Jeff Teague who has been an all-star the last few seasons. Once free agency opened July 1, the Pacers signed former Charlotte center Al Jefferson and traded for forward Thaddeus Young from Brooklyn.
The last part of the offseason was when Paul George represented Team USA in the Olympics in Rio. He helped the team win the gold for the third straight time. Winning the gold marked the end of a long road back for George. In a Team USA scrimmage in August of 2015, George suffered a compound fracture of both bones in his lower leg which would cost him all but six games that season. Now fresh off the gold medal run, George looks to lead the new look Pacers to the title.
After the busy offseason, Pacers fans have high expectations the team. They hope they can bring home a title this year.
“I cannot wait to the Pacers this year. Their starting five is so good with players like George and Teague who are both all-star players. If they can stay healthy and play up to the hype, I think they are the second best team behind Cleveland in the East. This season is going to so much fun to watch,” senior Jackson Beckham said.
Winning the title this season is going to be no easy task. Defending NBA champions Cleveland Cavaliers led by LeBron James seemed to have lost no one during the offseason and are favored to win the East again. In the West, the title favorite Golden State Warriors signed former league MVP Kevin Durant who will play alongside reigning NBA MVP Step Curry. The Pacers will see both the Cavs and Warriors in November.
“The road to the title is going to be tough. Both the Cavs and Warriors are two great teams and will be a challenge, but I think if the Pacers play well, they can get by them and win the title,” senior Taylor Walker said.
The Pacers look to take down Cleveland this season as the best team in the East.
“I think if we stay healthy, we have the potential to be the best team in the East. Of course LeBron and the Cavs are still the best, but I think with our lineup of Teague, Ellis, George, Young and Myles Turner; we can beat them,” senior Mason Stunick.