By Walton Yeboah-Amoako @WaltYeboah on July 31, 2014
The Indiana Pacers had a lot of team issues last season but they still managed to secure home court advantage in the Eastern Conference. The 2014 offseason has been great for the Eastern Conference in terms of free agency but Indiana seems to have lost more than they gained. As it stands, the Pacers look like they might be facing the biggest issues for any legitimate Eastern Conference contender in this 2014 offseason.
The Pacers must work hard to fix the team chemistry this offseason. Last season was a mess and it wasn't possible for head coach Frank Vogel to do a quick patch job on their in-house problems. Team-bonding activities would come in handy this offseason but personal maturity should be addressed first. David West is the only leader on that team right now and hopefully the younger pups wise up before they run him out of there when he's free in 2016.
It's time for Roy Hibbert to put up or shut up. The Pacers have been said to be shopping him but it appears that his suitors are few. Maybe the fear of being traded has motivated Hibbert to work hard on reviving his game with hall of fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Hibbert must return to his old ways soon but will this 2014 offseason break give him enough time to learn how to play his position all over again?
Lance Stephenson was the problem last year, but he was also the solution. However, Indiana refused to pay what Stephenson wanted for his services. Now he's off to another Eastern Conference playoff team, the Charlotte Hornets, and it doesn't bode well for anybody in the east. The Pacers "stole" Rodney Stuckey as Stephenson's replacement for a one-year vet minimum deal, but will Stuckey be the two-way player that Stephenson was every night?
George needs to grow up faster. His game is growing but he was terrible in the playoffs against the speed and defense of the Washington Wizards. In their six-game series, he was held to under 20 points four times. He's drawn LeBron-like comparisons but these comparisons are bogus. "Boy" George needs to become more effective as a shooter, passer and leader. He's playing summer ball for the USA so hopefully he can mature as a player and a man.
The Central Division just got a whole lot tougher with Derrick Rose and LeBron James looking to dominate the Midwest. Indiana has had it easy for the last year and a half, but now they might have to settle for third place in their division. With the losses of Josh McRoberts and Stephenson, the wealth has been spread out to the rest of the east so Indiana may suffer greatly unless they can salvage another impact free agent in this 2014 offseason.
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