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Just The Sports: Finally, Some Results

Just The Sports

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Finally, Some Results

If ever I am asked to go to the top of Mount Sinai with ten commandments on how to be an NBA general manager for a successful franchise, surely one of the commandments will say something along the lines of maintain roster stability and reap the benefits in the next season. That is why I was especially interested in this NBA season to see if the trade the Indiana Pacers pulled off would finally pay dividends. When the trade was made between the Pacers and the Golden State Warriors, I completely agreed with the reasoning behind it, at least on the Pacers' side, largely because I felt any team would be improved by adding Troy Murphy's underrated efficiency of play and subtracting Stephen Jackson, who is crazier than Ron Artest, and Al Harrington, who is both inconsistent and inefficient.

I was then disheartened to see the Pacers compile a 15-28 record after the trade and miss the playoffs and wanted them to have success in this, the 2007-08 season, to warrant my saying it was a good trade for the franchise to make. Now, even though the Pacers are still not an elite team, they are certainly better than last season's post-trade roster, and all it took was added time playing and practicing together and the injection of a new coach to make the difference.

This year's incarnation of the Pacers, beyond their 15-13 which is obviously better than 15-28, have the exact same offensive and defensive efficiency (105.7), which one would expect from a nearly .500 team. They have succeeded in closing the gap from their 2006-07 post-trade efficiency margin of -3.4 points per 100 possessions and they have done so by cutting down on turnovers (.167 TO/Poss. to .153 TO/Poss.) and raising their assist rate (15.8 AsR to 17.5 AsR) while averaging an extra 6.1 possessions per game over what they did in the last forty-three games of last season. Therefore, even though the team's shooting did not improve drastically (52.3 TS% to 53.3 TS%), they are a more efficient offensive team.

Defensively, the Pacers have mostly maintained their statistics and since their opponents are averaging 6.2 extra possessions a game with no improvement anywhere else, we see that the defensive efficiency of the Pacers has improved (107.1 to 105.7).

As long as the Pacers stay healthy this year, at the very least a playoff berth is in the their future and all it will take is for the players who play the most significant number of minutes to continue to play together.



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