Are the Indiana Pacers a Victim of Ewing Theory?

By Mathew Muncy
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Whenever a team is playing poorly when they were supposed to be blowing the opposition away, the first question is always: who’s the problem? Thanks to Bill Simmons, we now have a theory or catchphrase to use when they question arises: Ewing Theory. With the lackluster performances the Indiana Pacers have provided in the preseason, the question has to be asked: are they a victim of Ewing Theory?

If you are new to Ewing Theory then don’t worry because Simmon’s did a great job of explaining it thoroughly.

“Dave introduced me to the Ewing Theory three years ago, and we’ve been tinkering with it like Voltaire and Thoreau ever since. Eventually, we decided that two crucial elements needed to be in place for any situation to qualify for ‘Ewing’ status:

• A star athlete receives an inordinate amount of media attention and fan interest, and yet his teams never win anything substantial with him (other than maybe some early-round playoff series).

• That same athlete leaves his team (either by injury, trade, graduation, free agency or retirement) — and both the media and fans immediately write off the team for the following season.

When those elements collide, you have the Ewing Theory.”

With the Indiana Pacers, their star athlete was Danny Granger. Before the emergence of Paul George last season, Granger was the team’s franchise player. He received all of the attention, and rightfully so. So when he injured his knee during the preseason last year and it was announced he would be out until at least the All-Star break, everyone began writing off the Pacers as any kind of contender, despite taking the Miami Heat to six games in the playoffs the previous season.

The Pacers then soared to the Eastern Conference Finals without the help of Granger. That’s classic Ewing Theory.

While it may only be preseason basketball, it does seem coincidental that the Pacers earn their first preseason victory the same night Granger sits out an entire game. I don’t believe in coincidences, so I am chalking this up to Ewing Theory.

Is it proven science? No. But one of the big questions heading into the 2013-14 season was whether Granger would be able to step right back into the mold without causing any disruptions to the chemistry the starter built all of last year. A 1-5 preseason records indicates there are some issues, and it’s easy to point at Granger’s return being on of the big causes.

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