The Pacers are ready to make noise in the Eastern Conference. Building around perennial all-star Jermaine O’Neal and Steven Jackson, the Pacers expect this to be the breakout year for Forward Danny Granger. With the key 2006 NBA draft picks of Shawne Williams and James White, the Pacer team appears to have struck the perfect balance between winning now….and building a sustainable force for the future.
The Indiana Pacers came into the NBA in 1976. Having excelled in the American Basketball Association, winning three league championships in just nine seasons, the Pacers and three other ABA teams made the switch. The Pacers fell upon hard times early on in their NBA campaign. As the merger agreement denied the former ABA teams TV revenue for several years, there was little the Pacers could do to improve themselves at first. Struggling in the new league, the Indiana Pacers posted just one winning season in their first thirteen years. After over a decade of mediocrity, the Pacers finally started to play some good basketball and turned into a force in the Eastern Conference.
Led by the constant heroics of Reggie Miller, one of the NBA's all-time greats and one of the best three-point shooters in all of basketball, the Pacers were a dominant team in the NBA. Between 1994 and 2000, the Pacers went to five conference finals, won two Central Division titles, and made it to the NBA Finals in 2000. Reggie Miller has been with the ball club his entire career. Miller, the all-time leader in three pointers, could always be turned to when the Pacers were in need of a clutch shot. Miller's numbers have declined late in his career, but there are still few players in basketball that are looked to more often in the clutch than Reggie Miller.
The Pacers play at the state-of-the-art Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. The facility is among the finest in the league. Hall of famer and Indiana basketball legend Larry Bird is the President of Basketball Operations for the Pacers organization. Bird was arguably the greatest player ever to come out of the state of Indiana and is most remembered for his epic rivalry with Magic Johnson. In 2003, he brought coach Rick Carlisle to the team. Carlisle is responsible for one of the league's best players and one of the league's biggest bad boys. Jermaine O'Neal has proved himself as one of the elite big men in all of basketball. Drafted straight out of high school by the Portland Trailblazers, O'Neal saw a significant increase in minutes and productivity in 2000 when he came to the Pacers. O'Neal is almost guaranteed twenty points and ten rebounds night in and night out. Ron Artest is another great player. He is an aggressive scorer and a tenacious defender. Artest is consistently among the league leaders in steals.
Indianapolis is the home of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts. The Colts, led by one of the best drop-back passers in the league, have one of the best offenses in football. In 2003, Peyton Manning was named co-MVP while leading the Colts deep into the playoffs. Kicker Mike Vanderjagt set the all-time record for consecutive field goals by not missing a kick all season. The Colts play in the RCA Dome.
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