NBA Offseason Buzz: Indiana Pacers

Want to know who's heating up for a big season on the hardwood? Insider is tapping into John Hollinger's projected player efficiency ratings to see who's trending up and down across the NBA. Ric Bucher rounds out the report by examining a pivotal player you'll want to watch as the season approaches. The series continues with the Indiana Pacers.

It's always scary when a team has a definitive strength and hopes to improve by becoming more balanced. The Pacers were Suns-lite, fifth in both points scored and allowed last season, but they pared their scoring depth over the summer to improve their defense. Marquis Daniels, Jarrett Jack and Rasho Nesterovic, who averaged a combined 33 points a game, were replaced by Dahntay Jones, Solomon Jones and Earl Watson. With the 76ers and Pistons primed for a slide and the Pacers having finished as the ninth-best team in the East last season, a playoff berth is seemingly within reach. The Pacers may still run, but will they score at the same pace? For now, the race among the Sixers, Pistons and Pacers looks like a battle to determine who will slide the least.

To see which player is taking off, which is crashing to earth and which name you'll need to know for the 2009-10 season, you must be an ESPN Insider.