The Indiana Pacers seemed like they had the opportunity to take out the Miami Heat before they ever got to the 2013 NBA Finals as the two teams squared off in the Eastern Conference Finals. As we all know at this point, though, the Pacers were unable to deliver the death-blow and the Heat were able to ultimately move past Indiana on their way to their second-straight title.
Coming into this off-season, the Pacers had one real concern on their mind; they wanted to go on the market and improve their bench, which proved to be a weakness for them most of last season, particularly in the postseason. They did so by adding C.J. Watson, Luis Scola and Chris Copeland, as well as the looming return of Danny Granger.
Granger coming back to action is sort of a wildcard in the mix for Indiana. He tried to come back briefly this past year, but lasted only five games before requiring another knee surgery. However, if he could return to the floor this season and play at 80 percent of his former level of effectiveness, he’s going to be a huge asset to the Pacers.
How Granger will play this season remains to be seen, but his confidence definitely isn’t an issue. While being interviewed by Scott Agness of NBA.com, Granger stated that he believes, with the additions that the team made this summer, that the Pacers are title contenders heading into this season.
Though it may seem a bit crazy, Granger’s assertion isn’t too off-base. The Pacers improved upon their biggest weakness by adding quality reserves this summer, but they also have another year for players like Paul George, Roy Hibbert and Lance Stephenson to develop this season. Considering how close they were with the Heat last season, maybe title aspirations are the right bar for this Pacers to team to set for themselves.
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