Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hate Mail

Wikipedia describes “The bandwagon effect” as follows: “The bandwagon effect is a well documented… Never mind, it’s boring... And I’m pretty sure we all know what it is.

We know that the Pacers cultivated a HUGE following after the success of last season and the present success, complete with 360 windmills, triple-doubles, and a near perfect home record, has only helped further the bandwagoner’s cause.  To say that it’s been crazier this year would be an understatement.

What’s particularly interesting about the bandwagon effect, in regard to the Pacers, is that these new fans aren’t bottom feeder NBA fans. They claim to be fans of teams that already have amazing history and sit in the heart of an already firm NBA market:

As a Pacers fan, you never saw this coming - Heat fans… I’ll never understand.

Couldn’t begin to tell you who this guy likes (Yes, I know he said he loves his Pacers)…

We’ve all seen this stuff, kinda laugh about it, move on… whatever.  What is interesting about THIS year is something different.  Something Indiana fans haven’t witnessed before.  We are seeing, for possibly the first time… HATERS. The Pacers aren’t just putting up big numbers in little games.  They aren’t blowing up sub .500 teams to pad a record.  This team is destroying people at an alarming rate.  And when you destroy, you get butt hurt people coming out of the trailer park paneling.

If you had travelled outside of Indiana prior to 2013, and post 2004 of course, and somehow got into a basketball conversation, the inevitable would happen:

Some random dude or chick: “Oh, you like basketball. Who’s your team?”

You: “Indiana. The Pacers. I’m a Pacers fan.”

Some random dude or chick: “Oh.”

And the conversation ENDS.  But, we live in a post “Brawl” world and most definitely a post “The Indiana Pacers aren’t even on my radar” world. AND WE LOVE IT.  Conversations go differently now:

Some random dude or chick: “Oh, you like basketball. Who’s your team?”

You: “Indiana. The Pacers. I’m a Pacers fan.”

Some random dude or chick:
                A: “The hell you are. You only like them because they’re good.”
                B: “Name the starters hotshot.”
                C: “I’m a Heat fan. I hate you. Would you mind carrying my douchebag?”
                D: “No mother-effing way! ME TOO. Boom Baby! Two-Ahh! Reg-gie, Reg-gie!”

All of the above responses are going to warrant conversation.  And how we somehow live in a world where this is possible now:

We also live in a glorious Blue and Gold paradise where this is happening:

As a Pacers fan, you couldn’t ever imagine saying, “Pacers ‘til I die, but dem Heat boys are crazy good son.”   

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter.  The Pacers FAMbase is rapidly growing and as a consequence there are going to be people that want to bring you down when you’re on top.  We have created a culture of winning and celebrating around what is the absolute greatest franchise in sports.  As a result, we also have this…

You see that? We aren’t just turning people into Pacers fans, WE ARE TURNING PEOPLE INTO BASKETBALL FANS.  I know, I know… I cried a little bit too.

Monday, October 28, 2013

2013 Season

Pacers Season Preview

The season is upon us Posse.  It is here and it feels like it came so quickly.  This time last year, the PacersPosse was only a dream and the Pacers were set to put on a hell of a season.  This is a new year, though, and game 1 is just hours away.
So what’s different?  Well, let’s start off with a very brief synopsis of what last season was like.  We had MANY ups and downs relative to our bench, turnovers were plentiful and almost always proved to be costly, Granger was out for most of the year, Larry’s back, LeBron flopped every chance he got, and the Pacers lost in 7 against the defending and eventual World Champion Miami Heat.  Oh yeah, and I think David West got poked in the eye somewhere in there.

We have addressed, or very diligently attempted to address, most of these issues.  Issue 1, the bench, was attacked fervently by the organization and we have some very interesting additions – including draft pick Solomon Hill.  You can check out the other additions / subtractions in the side by side below:

That big X-factor is Danny Granger.  He missed the final two preseason games due to a strained calf and the Pacers released today that he will be out an additional 3 weeks to assure that the injury has subsided. Over that time span, assuming that 3 weeks means November 20th, the Pacers will play teams that were a combined 376-444 last season.  While these games do include your bottom feeders (Orlando, New Orleans, Cleveland, and Detroit), it also includes Chicago, Brooklyn, and New York – all teams that could pose issues in the months to come.  If Granger is to be his former self, and IF Danny must be injured, it really couldn’t have come at a better time.  It would be nice, for both him and the team, if he were healthy, but it’s always nicer to be healthy come April.  Many ask, though, do we even NEED Danny to win a chip?  I guess the verdict may still be out on that one, but last season may have been a solid indicator of what we may have been capable of if Granger was part of the mix.

Issue #2 goes to turnovers.  We saw LOTS of sloppy, careless mistakes last season that led to some real heartbreakers.  My analysis - our starters becoming severely overworked due to the lack of bench help and production.  When our starters were resting, our bench couldn’t sustain for long, if at all.  This clearly led to getting fatigued players back on the court before they could rest and elevated anxiety for our starters as they watched our bench players underperform.  You could see the frustration and it was uncomfortable.  The turnover issue is never one that is to be “resolved,” but I see great improvement on the horizon due to our significantly beefed up bench.  I ultimately think that game in and game out our fans will notice the production and see immediate results.  We win those close games that were just within reach in the past. 

This season WILL be a great one.  There are no doubts.  Much like last season, it will be a season to remember, but for different reasons.  I see PG being considered for MVP and Hibbert for DPOY.  And I think this goes down as the first year the NBA Pacers can call themselves champions.  We will grow tired of the “small-market-people-don’t-come-to-games-LeBron-is-flopping-again” talk very soon, but our starting 5 are all back and healthy and we have some very capable men that could be considered for 6th man honors.  I believe that anything else than a championship would fall short of the organizations expectations for this season.  The upside is that they are poised and totally capable of doing so (even without Danny).  56-26 is the prediction, with playoff wins over the Bulls and/or Nets, with a final East victory over the Heat to settle ourselves into the Finals.  This is our year Posse.  This is our year Pacers fans.  THE PACERS ARE GOING TO THE FINALS, I GOT A FEELIN’!!!