- Neil Paine
Although at times they gave the Chris Bosh-less Miami Heat more than they bargained for, the Indiana Pacers' six-game loss to Miami ultimately proved that they were not on the same level as the league's elite teams. That means reigning Executive of the Year Larry Bird still has work to do before next season if he hopes to build on Indiana's unexpectedly good 2012 campaign.
What are the biggest-action items for the Pacers as they head into 2012-13?
1. Bring back Hibbert
It goes without saying that the Pacers' top priority over the summer will be to make a qualifying offer to unrestricted free-agent center Roy Hibbert and to match any offer sheets from teams in search of the emerging big man's services.
Hibbert's improved play in 2012 was one of the big reasons Indiana vaulted from a sub-.500 team to the No. 3 seed in the East. He posted a career-high 19.3 player efficiency rating, elevating his usage, offensive efficiency and defense in the same season. At 25, he'll give the team that signs him a handful of prime years as a true center, one of the rarest commodities in the modern-day NBA.