Indiana Pacers season preview, roster and schedule 2018: Tough times await

The Pacers are now in the post-Paul George era, but still aren’t committing all the way to a full-scale rebuild.


Offseason recap

Arrivals: Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, T.J. Leaf, Cory Joseph, Bojan Bogdanovic, Darren Collison, Ike Anigbogu, Edmond Sumner, Damien Wilkins

Departures: Paul George, Jeff Teague, C. J. Miles, Monta Ellis, Lavoy Allen, Aaron Brooks, Rakeem Christmas, Kevin Seraphin, Georges Niang

If there was an actual award for the worst trade a team made in the offseason, the Pacers would’ve won this year after their inexplicable decision to trade superstar Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Was that really the best offer the Pacers had on the table for a top-15 player in George?

None of that matters now though. Indiana are stuck with Dipo and Domas for the foreseeable future and the two now will be centerpieces of their rebuilding effort along with promising young center Myles Turner.

The Pacers completely overhauled their point guard rotation this offseason. They let Jeff Teague and Aaron Brooks walk, stretched Monta Ellis, signed Darren Collison in free agency, and picked up a useful player in Cory Joseph from the Raptors in a salary dump. While Collison and Joseph are serviceable veterans, neither is really a starter-caliber point guard.

They also brought in rookies T. J. Leaf, Ike Anigbogu, and Edmond Sumner. Anigbogu, who went from a projected first-rounder to the mid-second round, has a chance to be a real steal if his knees hold up. However, Leaf doesn’t offer quite the same upside despite being their actual first-rounder (18th overall), and he’ll start out as the third option at his position with Thad Young and Sabonis both above him in the pecking order.

Projected depth chart

C – Myles Turner / Al Jefferson / Ike Anigbogu

PF – Thaddeus Young / Domantas Sabonis / T.J. Leaf 

SF – Bojan Bogdanovic / Glenn Robinson III

SG – Victor Oladipo / Lance Stephenson / Damien Wilkins

PG – Darren Collison / Cory Joseph / Joe Young

Strengths

It’s tough to think of things the Pacers will actually do well next season. Indiana was the definition of mediocre last season even when they had a top two-way player in George. They finished 15th in offensive efficiency and 16th in defensive efficiency.

Turner is obviously the best thing the Pacers have going for them at the moment. He’s coming off a strong sophomore season where he put up 14.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks. He’s primed for a breakout season in Year 3 now that he’ll be the team’s first or second option on offense, and could put himself in the discussion with Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, and Nikola Jokic as one of the league’s best young big men.

Apart from him, though, it’s unclear what other clear positives the Pacers have on the roster. They forced a good amount of turnovers last season, ranking sixth in turnover rate. However, four of their top six steals leaders are no longer with the team, so it’s unlikely that they keep that rate up.

Weaknesses

Turner has a lot of very good attributes, but rebounding isn’t one of them. The Pacers were one of the worst rebounding teams in the league last season and the 21-year-old’s lack of dominance on the boards played at least some part in their struggles. They were 25th in defensive rebounding rate and 24th in offensive rebounding rate. Those numbers are in danger of dwindling further with their second-best rebounder George onto pastures new.

Another thing the 2016 Olympic gold medalist did very well was shoot three-pointers. He made over 2.5 of them per game at a 39 percent clip. Well, he’s gone now, as are their second and third-best shooters, C. J. Miles and Jeff Teague. In extension to the aforementioned Joseph and Oladipo, Indiana added Bojan Bogdanovic, but all figure to be downgrades as shooters from last year. That’s bad news for a Pacers team that already finished way down in 26th in three-point attempt rate.

With George and Teague both gone, the Pacers also lost their only players who could actually create on offense. Oladipo and Bogdanovic will now be tasked with bailing the team out when the offense stalls, which could be fairly often.

Player to watch – Myles Turner

The Pacers could legitimately be one of the most uninteresting teams in the entire league next season. The PG13 era is now officially over at the Crossroads of America. The four-time All-Star is the type of player who can compel anyone to watch this team play. Turner is easily the closest thing the Pacers have to that kind of player at the moment.

Turner has the exciting two-way ability to become a star in this league. He has the combination of shooting and explosiveness which could make him a force on offense, in addition his length and mobility can be a real game-changer defensively.

In what is likely to be a forgettable campaign for the Pacers, the Texan’s progress will be the most fascinating thing to follow on the team.

2017/18 Schedule

Oct. 18, Wednesday, vs. Brooklyn

Oct. 20, Friday, vs. Portland

Oct. 21, Saturday, at Miami

Oct. 24, Tuesday, at Minnesota

Oct. 25, Wednesday, at Oklahoma City

Oct. 29. Sunday,  vs. San Antonio

Oct. 31, Tuesday, vs. Sacramento

Nov. 1, Wednesday, at Cleveland

Nov. 3, Friday, at Philadelphia

Nov. 5, Sunday, at New York

Nov. 7, Tuesday, vs. New Orleans

Nov. 8, Wednesday, at Detroit

Nov. 10, Friday, at Chicago

Nov. 12, Sunday, vs. Houston

Nov. 15, Wednesday, at Memphis

Nov. 17, Friday, vs. Detroit

Nov. 19, Sunday, at Miami

Nov. 20, Monday, at Orlando

Nov. 24, Friday, vs. Toronto

Nov. 25, Saturday, vs. Boston

Nov. 27, Monday, vs. Orlando

Nov. 29, Wednesday, at Houston

Dec. 1, Friday, at Toronto

Dec. 4, Monday, vs. New York

Dec. 6, Wednesday, vs. Chicago

Dec. 8, Friday, vs. Cleveland

Dec. 10, Sunday, vs. Denver

Dec. 13, Wednesday, vs. Oklahoma City

Dec. 15, Friday, vs. Detroit

Dec. 17, Sunday, at Brooklyn

Dec. 18, Monday, vs. Boston

Dec. 20, Wednesday, at Atlanta

Dec. 23, Saturday, vs. Brooklyn

Dec. 26, Tuesday, at Detroit

Dec. 27, Wednesday, vs. Dallas

Dec. 29, Friday, at Chicago

Dec. 31, Sunday, vs. Minnesota

Jan. 3, Wednesday, at Milwaukee

Jan. 6, Saturday, vs. Chicago

Jan. 8, Monday, vs. Milwaukee

Jan. 10, Wednesday, vs. Miami

Jan. 12, Friday, vs. Cleveland

Jan. 14, Sunday, at Phoenix

Jan. 15, Monday, at Utah

Jan. 18, Thursday, at Portland

Jan. 19, Friday, at L.A. Lakers

Jan. 21, Sunday, at San Antonio

Jan. 24, Wednesday, vs. Phoenix

Jan. 26, Friday, at Cleveland

Jan. 27, Saturday, vs. Orlando

Jan. 29, Monday, vs. Charlotte

Jan. 31, Wednesday, vs. Memphis

Feb. 2, Friday, at Charlotte

Feb. 3, Saturday, vs. Philadelphia

Feb. 5, Monday, vs. Washington

Feb. 7, Wednesday, at New Orleans

Feb. 9, Friday, at Boston

Feb. 11, Sunday, vs. New York

Feb. 14, Wednesday, at Brooklyn

Feb. 23, Friday, vs. Atlanta

Feb. 26, Monday, at Dallas

Feb. 28, Wednesday, at Atlanta

March 2, Friday, at Milwaukee

March 4, Sunday, at Washington

March 5, Monday, vs. Milwaukee

March 7, Wednesday, vs. Utah

March 9, Friday, vs. Atlanta

March 11, Sunday, at Boston

March 13, Tuesday, at Philadelphia

March 15, Thursday, vs. Toronto

March 17, Saturday, at Washington

March 19, Monday, vs. L.A. Lakers

March 23, Friday, vs. L.A. Clippers

March 25, Sunday, vs. Miami

March 27, Tuesday, at Golden State

March 29, Thursday, at Sacramento

April 1, Sunday, at L.A. Clippers

April 3, Tuesday, at Denver

April 5, Thursday, vs. Golden State

April 6, Friday, at Toronto

April 8, Sunday, at Charlotte

April 10, Tuesday, vs. Charlotte

Prediction

The Pacers obviously aren’t good enough to make it to the playoffs without Paul George, but they’re also not quite bad enough to sink to the bottom of the conference. Instead, they end up in limbo, finishing in the 10-12 range in the East.

  1. Where will the Pacers end up in the East?

    1. Playoffs (8th or higher)
    2. 9th-12th
    3. 13th-15th
    4 votes
    Share Your Result

Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?


admin

0 Comments