All preseason long, the Chicago Bulls were picked by many to give the Miami Heat a run for their money in the playoffs this season. After all, Chicago was a resilient bunch last season even without former MVP Derrick Rose. However, just one week into the season, it appears as though most people are once again sleeping on the Indiana Pacers.
Led by fantasy basketball star Paul George, the Pacers have made rather quick work of three teams many did not expect to be all that great this season. However, it is not as much about who they have beaten, but rather who they return from a team that gave Miami a huge push last season.
Every major contributor outside of Tyler Hansbrough returned to the Pacers this season, and the team did a good job building more depth on the bench as well. Not only that, but Danny Granger is expected to return soon, and the former All-Star could be another nice piece to add to the rotation.
The size inside gives Miami fits, as Roy Hibbert is in even better shape than he was a year ago. David West was brought back, and Luis Scola brings a more refined offensive touch to the bench, and he has some underrated fantasy basketball value as well in deep leagues.
The season ultimately comes down to the play of Paul George for the Pacers. He is one of the few players in the league who can pretty much go head to head with Lebron James, as he has the size and scoring ability to give him fits. A deeper Pacers team means he won’t have to play 40 or so minutes a game to give them a shot. Chicago looks nice and Brooklyn has some intriguing pieces, but if any team is coming out of the Eastern Conference not named Miami, it will be the Indiana Pacers.