2013-14 record: 56-26
First place, Central Division
Lost in conference finals to Miami
2014 Draft Picks: Round 2 - Pick 57
TRADE 1: Indiana Pacers acquire cash considerations from New York in exchange for No. 57 pick Louis Labeyrie.
Areas of Strength
The Pacers had a rock solid starting five, a crew that tore through the NBA through the season's first four months and posted the best home record (35-6). Defensively, Indiana finished in the top five in 11 statistical categories. Paul George appears to be on the brink of perennial All-Star status and MVP consideration, and the team's 1-2 punch in the front office – Larry Bird, president, and Donnie Walsh, consultant – suggests solid moves going forward (the Andrew Bynum and Evan Turner dice rolls not withstanding).
The Pacers rely on a whole-greater-than-the-sum-of-parts approach that, with its shared responsibility, doesn't always bail them out in crunch time. Casual handling of the basketball was a glaring problem, leading to turnovers that grew increasingly lethal as the playoffs progressed. Center Roy Hibbert is 7-foot-2, yes, but he was wildly inconsistent in the second half and the postseason.
Two Stats That Matter
27 -- Few teams were blessed with better health. Through a combination of good fortune, a sound medical staff and possibly clean living, the Pacers lost only 70 "man games" to injury. And 43 of those belonged to Andrew Bynum (18) and Danny Granger (25), dropping the ones that really mattered to 27.
-4.8 -- The Pacers outscored their opponents by 10.5 points in the regular season and limited them to 40.4 percent shooting and 33.4 percent from the arc. But in March, all those numbers got ugly, as Indiana went 8-10. It got outscored by 4.8 points per game and let foes shoot 42.9 and 36.4, respectively.
The Way To Go
NBA.com's Draft expert, Scott Howard-Cooper, offers up his suggestions:
Maybe Indy finds a few points for the offense at No. 57. OK, probably not. But the last few picks of a pretty deep draft have far more value compared to last June. Robbie Hummel, Robert Sacre, E’Twaun Moore and Isaiah Thomas all went late-50s or 60 the last couple years.
2013-14 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank)
Offensive: 101.5 (22nd)
Defensive: 96.7 (1st)
G: George Hill
G: C.J. Watson
G: Donald Sloan
F: Paul George
F: David West
F: Luis Scola
F: Solomon Hill
F: Chris Copeland
C: Roy Hibbert
C: Ian Mahinmi
G: Lance Stephenson
G: Evan Turner
F: Rasual Butler
F/C: Lavoy Allen
Recent Draft History
2013: Solomon Hill (23), Colton Iverson (53)
2012: Miles Plumlee (26)
2011: Kawhi Leonard (15), traded to San Antonio for George Hill; Davis Bertans (42)
2010: Paul George (10), Lance Stephenson (40), Ryan Reid (57)
2009: Tyler Hansbrough (13), A.J. Price (52)
-- Steve Aschburner