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Indiana Pacers: Offseason Moves, What To Expect This Season

Pacers Curt Johnson Via Flickr

NBA

The NBA preseason is nearly complete, marking the commencement of the new regular season on October 17th. The good news is that there will be NBA games on almost every single night for the next 8 months. The bad news is that the season probably won’t be interesting until the playoffs, again. This is largely due to all of the league’s top players flocking to just a handful of teams. The Indiana Pacers offseason primarily focused on getting rid of Paul George before the start of the new season. This, of course, resulted from his controversial and very public comments about wanting to play for the Lakers. This nearly triggered the premature rebuild of the team, something I’m sure management hoped that could be put off a little longer by retaining the star wing player.

With that being said, let us take a look at the new-look Pacers squad.

Some key players returning from last year include Myles Turner, Thaddeus Young, Lance Stephenson, Al Jefferson, and Glenn Robinson III. Key departures include Paul George, Jeff TeagueC.J. Miles, Kevin Seraphin, Monta Ellis, and last but not least, President Larry Bird. Key acquisitions include Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Bojan Bogdanovic, Cory Joseph, Darren Collison, and rookie T.J. Leaf.

Good News For The Pacers

The best thing to happen to the Pacers in recent memory, besides drafting Myles Turner, is the resignation of Larry Bird. It seemed that year after year, he would continue to make small changes to the roster that kept them in a state of mediocrity. Since he took over in 2003, the Pacers have made it to the playoffs 8 times and missed the postseason 5 times. Their playoff runs do include two trips to the conference finals, however, Bird failed to make the changes necessary for beating LeBron in Miami. They haven’t been quite good enough to reach the finals, and not bad enough to secure a high draft pick.

That is a tough spot to be in for so long. It feels as if the Pacers can finally move forward with him gone, though it may take some time to be successful. Myles Turner is now their key player to watch. Entering his 3rd season, he will look to improve upon his rebounding, his inside game, and perimeter scoring. Turner is already a tough defender, he will also look to continue improving his block and steal totals. If he can continue to improve on his production from last year, he has the potential to be one of the NBA’s top big men.

Depending on how much work he put in during the offseason, he probably won’t be the number 1 option on offense. Luckily, with the departure of George came depth. Look for Oladipo, Bodganovic, and Lance Stephenson to be heavily involved in the offense.

The Bad News

Without Paul George, this team has little chance of contending for a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals. They were able to add some good young talent around Myles Turner, but none of them are super good, nor are they super young. This is excluding Sabonis, and first-year players T.J. Leaf and Ike Anigbogu, as we haven’t seen these guys much yet. Oladipo is a solid player, but he has not yet proven he can man the scoring load for his team. They have a decent shot at making the playoffs, but they won’t make it out of the first round. I don’t see the Pacers having enough firepower to overtake Cleveland, Boston, Milwaukee, Washington, or Toronto. Hopefully, they will prove me wrong.

If the Pacers can hold on to the core group of guys they have right now, they may have enough pieces in place to attract a top-tier free agent next summer. Until that happens, or until they decide to hang on to Turner and blow up the team, don’t expect the needle to move much on their wins.

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