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Of all the teams in the division and even the whole Eastern Conference, the Pacers have the best chance to make the most noise and the biggest move up the rankings.
Going into the season, Indiana still needs to address the missing piece by finding a quality power forward who can take some of the scoring load off of Danny Granger. Otherwise, the Pacers have all the makings of a complete and fundamentally sound team.
Starting at center, the Pacers have 7'2'' Roy Hibbert, who after steadily and rapidly progressing each of his first three seasons has a chance to really assert himself as one of the best centers in the league. Look for him to win Most Improved Player of the year.
At small forward, you have NBA All-Star Danny Granger, who is a dangerous scorer from the wing and one of the league's most underrated players (and leaders).
At point guard, Darren Collison is a young explosive dual scoring and passing threat who in his second full year in the offense should have a solid command of the players and system coach Frank Vogel will run.
Complementing those three will be a mix of Paul George, another young Pacer brimming with potential and destined to have a monster season, George Hill, a proven veteran brought over from San Antonio to back up Collison/George and Tyler Hansbrough, a relentless energy player who provides the Pacers with a toughness and determination they had been lacking in years past.
The biggest question mark remains power forward. If the Pacers can land a guy like David West (Collison's former teammate) through free agency, his addition would immediately catapult the Pacers into the discussion of being a top-four team in the East.
If not, the question becomes, do the Pacers breakup the core group and trade Granger for a more proven scoring power forward, or do they rely on Hansbrough?
With a healthy David West, the Pacers are a 50-54 win team. Without him, the Pacers are still a playoff team and win 44-48 games.