"Jordan needs to anchor the defense and be more consistent."
1. Indiana. Rather than take offense at the notion that they needed more offense, the Pacers did something about it. They signed a more capable backup point guard in C.J. Watson, a proven scorer in Luis Scola and a prolific three-point shooter in Chris Copeland.
The biggest boost to a Pacers offense that averaged 94.7 points per game last season — 23rd in the league — isn't a newcomer. The return of Danny Granger from a knee injury that kept him out for all but five games last season should give Indiana scoring punch at every position.
Plus there's Paul George, the league's reigning most improved player who is on the verge of helping the Pacers break through to the Finals.
2. Chicago. Derrick Rose has been sidelined for so long now that his return invites the skepticism of a Sasquatch sighting; you'll believe it when you see it.
"I just feel like it's all sort of teed up for Chicago with Rose coming back, guys like Noah and [Taj] Gibson entering their prime," Kerr said. "I think Chicago will have something special this year."
"When Garnett and Ray Allen came to the Celtics that first year," Van Gundy said, "they won it and they had never played together. I think people make too much of people not playing together. Smart players playing together, it doesn't take any time or very little time."
And the NBA champion is…
The Pacers finally zoom past the Heat in the playoffs before being totaled by the more savvy Spurs. Ginobili and Leonard make their free throws in the final minute this time and Duncan gets to call every digit on one hand a ring finger.
Three-peat is forgotten. Just as it should be.