Why They Might Be Good: They won’t. They’ll be mediocre. They were .500 last year, they’ll be .500 this year, and the year after that, and the year after that. In 2010, flexible second year forward Danny Granger will fully mature, and the Pacers will chalk up a record of 42-40. The year after, Granger will get hurt, and we’re talking 40-42.

Why They Might Suck: They won’t. See above.

The Dude Other Than Jermaine O’Neal Who I Want on My Fantasy Team: Al Harrington. The scrappy combo forward returns to his first NBA team after kvetching his way off the Hawks roster, and that fact alone guarantees he’ll put up some big numbers. I mean, if I managed to escape Atlanta, I’d be so happy that I’d manage to average a double-double.

Bottom Line: Go-to guy O’Neal has become an injury machine–he’s missed a combined total of 67 games over the last two seasons–and he’s already made an appointment with the team orthopedist to fix the patella tendon he’ll blow out Dec. 15. That puts the onus on cantankerous chucker and gun-toting strip club enthusiast Stephen Jackson, which is problematic because Jackson recently told disheveled Coach Rick Carlisle, “Man, I don’t like onuses.”

heckler editorial staff