Behind enemy lines: Indiana Pacers

Behind enemy lines: Indiana Pacers
August 4, 2014, 10:00 am
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(Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)

This is a series to look at how the Wizards stack up against their opponents in the East, where they finished 44-38 last season for a No. 5 playoff seed and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in nine years. Today:

Indiana Pacers

2013-14 finish: 56-26, 1st in Central Division and No. 1 overall seed in East; advanced to the conference finals before losing to the Miami Heat in six games

Season series vs. Wizards: Pacers won 2-1 in the regular season and a second-round playoff series 4-2. 

Key losses: PG Lance Stephenson, SG/SF Evan Turner, SF Paul George.

Key addition: SF C.J. Miles. 

Outlook: Not good. George incurred a compound fracture to his right leg in a USA Basketball game on Friday, requiring season-ending surgery on a team that already was tasked with age, roster defections and now minus its best player. C Roy Hibbert will have to suddenly become a leading man, something that he has yet to show in his career, and David West will be 34 later this month. While not having Turner is addition by subtraction -- it just wasn't a good fit -- Stephenson's absence will matter on both ends. He bolted Indiana to play for the Charlotte Hornets, and PG George Hill hasn't proven to be a consistent performer as a starter. Even before George's injury, in the division the Cleveland Cavaliers will be the favorite because of LeBron James and the Chicago Bulls could be a close second, if not first, pending health of Derrick Rose. A third-place finish for Indiana was -- is -- plausible.

[RELATED: Cassell leaving Wizards for assistant role with Clippers]