In a move that is sure to scare every team throughout the NBA, the Indiana Pacers announced on Saturday afternoon that they had signed Andrew Bynum for the rest of the 2013-14 season. The move not only makes the Pacers a better team moving forward, but it makes them the team to beat in the Eastern Conference and quite possibly the entire NBA.
When looking up and down the roster of Indiana, there is simply no team in the NBA that can match the depth and talent that is present top to bottom. A big and physical group, guys such as Roy Hibbert, George Hill, Lance Stephenson, David West and Danny Granger all know their roles in the team. Although none may be an offensive juggernaut, they all play hard and torment teams on defense (with their 90.5 points per game allowed average ranking first in the NBA).
All in all, Indiana has had nine players average over 15 minutes per game thus far in the regular season, and although Paul George may be the only bona fide superstar of the group, there is certainly not another team in the world that plays as unified and consistent as this team. For the whole of the season, the Pacers have lost more than one game in a row only once. Their average point difference of +8.2 ranks first in the NBA and is a reminder that this team simply beats down everyone in their sights.
The addition of Bynum to this group that is already one of a few favorites to win the NBA title makes them unstoppable in the post. In Hibbert and Bynum, the Pacers arguably house two of the five most talented centers in the world, and it has been proven in the past that the latter can be the best in the world if he wants to be. With a third ring now staring him in the face, not playing hard and consistent would not only be dumbfounding but it would likely be a one-way ticket out to retirement.
When looking at opposition in the Eastern Conference it’s obvious that the Miami Heat will be the only true threat to the Pacers this postseason, and they will be physically manhandled by this addition when the two face off. Sure the Heat have Greg Oden on the books now, but he has never shown the ability to match either Bynum or Hibbert at the NBA level and there is no guarantee he will even be healthy when the postseason rolls around. And for those of you who are looking for Chris Bosh down in the post, you will be playing a game of ‘Where’s Waldo’ in April and May.
Certainly the low post does not decide every game in the postseason, but over a seven game series it wears down opposing teams and rebounding does win championships. With the addition of Bynum, nobody can even dream of outrebounding Indiana and winning a seven game series against them is looking like a pipe dream at best.