Indiana Pacers v San Antonio SpursLarry Bird did not walk into a room with the Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls and ask, “Which one of you is finishing second?” but he did the next best thing.

Bird boldly proclaimed that the Indiana Pacers are “all in” and said anything less than an NBA Finals appearance this season would be a disappointment in a bold interview with The Indianapolis Star. The Pacers president of basketball operations, who took a year off before returning to the front office this year, declared that this should be the year the Pacers get over the hump against the Heat and win the Eastern Conference title.

“I think anything over 50 wins is a good season, but I believe we’re built more for the playoffs than we are for the regular season,” Bird told Bob Kravitz. “Because we’re deep and we’ll have time to prepare. It’s hard to beat 10 or 11 guys.”

The return of Danny Granger, who missed all but five games last season due to an injury in his left knee, and the development of young stars like Paul George and Roy Hibbert makes Bird confident the Pacers can win it all. Bird always backed up his tough talk as a player. Now we will see if his players can back up his talk as an executive.