If we accept the premise that the NBA is a league of superstars as an axiom, then the Indiana Pacers seem a bit out of place at this feast. Their roster is made up of quality performers who are willing to leave everything on the court and fight in every play and game. However, the lack of talent is still felt.
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What fate awaits the Pacers in the new season? Perhaps some of the existing players will make significant progress, and the team will see more stars emerge.
Last season’s results: 12th place, 35-47.
Arrivals – Bruce Brown, Obi Toppin, Jalen Walker (8th pick).
Retained – Tyrese Haliburton, T.J. McConnell, Andrew Nembhard, Aaron Nesmith, Benedict Mathurin, Buddy Hield, Jalen Smith, Jordan Nwora, Isaiah Jackson, Myles Turner, Daniel Theis.
What to Expect from the Team
Let’s start with the worst. The Indiana Pacers have a relatively weak rotation of centers. To make matters worse, their nominal center, Myles Turner, is not exactly in the best of health and is prone to injuries. He’s also not particularly strong in terms of rebounding. This was a problem for the Pacers last season as they ranked 24th in the league in total rebounds and defensive rebounds.
Recognizing this problem, the Pacers’ management made significant efforts during the summer to address defensive issues. However, only time will tell whether their efforts will be successful. In the draft, they acquired Jalen Walker, a physical specimen with phenomenal height and wingspan, who is well-developed for a rookie. He is strong both as a standalone offensive unit and on the defensive end.
They also added Bruce Brown and Obi Toppin. Toppin was essentially acquired at a bargain from the New York Knicks. While some may say that they overpaid with a contract of 45 million over 2 years for Bruce Brown, it’s an excellent deal considering the second season is a team option. Brown will bring experience, championship mentality, and strong defense to this young team, particularly in the backcourt.
Regarding Buddy Hield, it seems they’ve agreed to find a new team for him. It’s a shame since I was hoping they would try to integrate him into the revamped roster, as one of the best shooters in the game would be very useful.
Overall, the Pacers look promising, but it’s important to understand that for Coach Rick Carlisle’s team to show their maximum potential, the key players must stay healthy. Last season, Tyrese Haliburton missed 26 games, and Myles Turner missed 20. For them to compete for a playoff spot, they both need to play in 70+ games.
Season Joker: Tyrese Haliburton
I predict that he will become the league’s assists leader in the upcoming season and make a significant impact overall. Haliburton is the closest among all the Pacers to disprove the notion that «Indiana is a team without superstars.» He’s already a strong contributor, and it’s well within his capabilities to take the final step to elite status.
Prediction: 7th place in the Eastern Conference.
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