Fantasy Basketball 2010-2011 Team Preview: Indiana Pacers (9/7/10)

It’s going to be another long year for the Pacers, but at least there are a few fantasy options that owners will want to keep an eye on.  Danny Granger is near the top of everyone’s small forward lists and Darren Collison is moving quickly up the point guard rankings, especially for keeper and dynasty leagues.   Roy Hibbert also has some fantasy appeal, but he’s a gamble.  T.J. Ford, Dahntay Jones and Jeff Foster are waiver wire material, but could be useful if the Pacers get hit with any significant injuries.

Projected Depth Chart
PG – Darren Collison, T.J. Ford, A. J. Price, Lance Stephenson
SG – Brandon Rush, Dahntay Jones
SF – Danny Granger, Mike Dunleavy
PF – Tyler Hansbrough, Josh McRoberts, Solomon Jones
C – Roy Hibbert, Jeff Foster
Coach – Jim O’Brien

The Pacers have huge holes at shooting guard and power forward.  Darren Collison should go high in fantasy drafts, but remember that he’s inexperienced and the expectations are very high and there is always that possibility that he might not be able to handle the pressure.  There’s a big difference between coming in for a few weeks with a good showing and doing it consistently for an entire season.  Brandon Rush should get the shooting guard spot based on his defensive ability.  Granger will start at SF, but he’s depending too much on the three point shot and I’m not a a fan.  I have no idea what the Pacers are going to do at PF.  McRoberts is very raw and Hansbrough still has the inner ear problem that kept him out most of last season.  Roy Hibbert is going to get his minutes since he’s the only big man in town, but he’s still got a huge problem with fouls and will be attacked relentlessly now that Troy Murphy is gone and he’s left with no help from the PF spot.  I have my doubts about Hibbert’s fantasy value this year.


2009 Team Stats
Pace:    #2, 97.1 (avg. 92.7)
Offensive Rating:   #25, 103.7 (avg. 107.6)
Defensive Rating:   #14, 106.8 (avg. 107.6)
Team eFG%:   #22, 49.1 (avg. 50.1)
Offensive Rebounding:  #29, 21.6 (avg. 26.3)
Defensive Rebounding:   #22, 73.0 (avg. 73.7)
Opponent’s eFG%:   #10, 49.0 (avg. 50.1)
Points Per Game:   #16, 100.8 (avg. 100.4)

The most important fantasy stat for Indiana is the #2 pace ranking.  This pace is excellent for fantasy production and it should really help Collison and Granger, as well as opposing fantasy players.  Another thing to notice is that just because a team runs at a fast pace, that doesn’t mean their offense is good.  The Pacers run at the second fastest pace, but have an offensive rating that was only good for a #25 ranking and a points per game that ranked #16.  Basically, what happened is that Indiana had to run up and down the court at nearly the fastest pace in the league just to put up the number of points that an average team does in a game.  They are highly inefficient.


Playing Time and Usage Rate
Player  (2009 MPG)        Usage Rate (2009/Career)
Collison (27.8)                     23.1/23.1
Ford (25.3)                           21.0/22.5
Rush (30.4)                          14.8/15.5
D. Jones (24.9)                     20.1/17.7
Granger (36.7)                     28.7/23.4
Hibbert (25.1)                     22.2/22.6
Foster  (15.9)                      11.1/12.1

The primary offensive option in 2009 for Indiana was Danny Granger and he should again be the number one option.  He’s got a career 23.4 usage rate but last season that jumped to 28.7.  The only other real offensive threat is Darren Collison, so Granger could again put up a big usage number in 2010.   The Pacers leaned too much on Dahntay Jones last season.  Jones’ career usage rate is a little below average and he should probably revert back to that level this season.   Brandon Rush wasn’t asked to do much in the offense last season and I don’t expect much more than the 14.8 he put up in 2009.  The interesting usage stat is the 22.2 figure put up by Roy Hibbert.  He could actually exceed that number this season if he can keep his fouls under control.  Jeff Foster is mostly a rebounder at center and isn’t asked to do much on offense.


Shooting Ability and Shot Location
Player      Career eFG%     3PT Shooting        Jumper/Inside
Collison        50.6                .6/1.5 (40.0%)       66/34
Ford             45.1                .3/1.1 (29.8%)        68/32
Rush            50.2                1.3/3.3 (39.5%)     77/23
D. Jones       46.2                 .1/.4 (31.6%)         64/36
Granger        51.1                1.8/4.6 (38.5%)     75/25
Hibbert        48.8                 0/0                          35/65
Foster          49.9                  0/0                        30/70

Hopefully, Darren Collison can keep up his good shooting now that he’s got the PG job.  He’s shown the ability to hit the three, but the sample size is still pretty small.   Rush is a decent outside shooter with a 39.5% success rate on threes.    Danny Granger has seen his eFG% rise, but that is due to the huge increase in three point shots that he’s been attempting.  His actual FG% percentage was 42.8%, which is just a fantasy buzzkill.  Hibbert is decent for a big man, but you would like to see that figure somewhere around 52.0% given all the shots he gets at the rim.  Foster is only a little better at 49.9%.

Granger is the player most likely to fire up a three pointer, but he has gone way overboard with the three.  Last year he put up 7.1 per game while only hitting 36.1%.  Over his career he’s launched 4.6 per game, so you can see what a big increase last season’s number was.  Hopefully, he will back off on the threes and start taking it to the basket a little more.  I’m interested to see what happens with Collison’s three point shooting this season and whether he can make that career 40% rate hold up over a whole season.

Collison is the player most likely to take it to the basket with a Jumper/Inside split of 64/36.  Rush and Granger are perimeter oriented players.  Hibbert has a 35/65 split and appears to be the only real threat to score on the interior.


Rebounding Rates
Player              Off/Def/Total
Collison           2.2/8.6/5.3
Ford                2.9/10.2/6.5
Rush                1.9/13.0/7.4
D. Jones          3.3/9.6/6.5
Granger          4.2/13.7/8/9
Hibbert           10.4/15.0/12.7
Foster             15.0/22.7/18.9
Murphy           7.7/24.7/16.1

The Pacers are going to be a horrible rebounding team this year, especially with the loss of their leading defensive rebounder, Troy Murphy.   Many people don’t consider Murphy to be a great rebounder, but he was by far the Pacers best defensive rebounder last season.  The obvious weakness that the Pacers are left with is the soft defensive rebounding by Roy Hibbert and his 15.0 defensive rebounding rate.  He is going to have to improve that stat to at least 20.0 for the Pacers to have any shot at keeping games close.  If he doesn’t pick it up, Jeff Foster will be stealing a lot of minutes.


The Pacers were #14 in the league in defensive rating last season, but the loss of Murphy is going to hurt. 
PG – I didn’t really get enough of a look at Collison’s defense last season to form a solid opinion, but given his size of only 160 pounds, I’m guessing that he is going to have some problems with bigger guards.  At 165 pounds, T.J. Ford showed the exact same problems last season. 
SG – Brandon Rush is an excellent defensive player and his ability will likely earn him the starting SG spot where he may draw the tougher guard assignment to cover the weaknesses of Collison/Ford.
SF – Danny Granger is known for his offense and he isn’t much of a defensive player.  His defense has been declining for the last couple of seasons as he is asked to do more and more on offense.
PF – Due to his limited time on the court, I don’t know much about Tyler Hansbrough’s defense, but he’s a little short at only 6’9.  It’s pretty much the same story for Josh McRoberts, he’s 6’10, but weighs about 10 pounds less than Hansbrough.
C – Hibbert’s defense is weak, but he’s been working with Bill Walton this offseason, so maybe he can take a big step forward.

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