(All stats and records through Jan. 14; for report cards for all 30 teams click here.)
Offense: 107.9, 8th Overall
Defense: 106.8, 21st Overall
W-L | Pct. | GB
22-20, .524, 11.0
Myles Turner is one of the NBA’s bright young big men, but injury absences mean backup Domantas Sabonis has played more minutes. Thaddeus Young is a solid veteran presence, and Bojan Bogdanovic has been a relative iron man while helping to boost the Pacers’ 3-point game.
Victor Oladipo has turned the pressure and criticism of the Paul George trade completely in his favor with play that will land him an All-Star berth. Darren Collison has been overshadowed but has hit more than half his 3-pointers since Dec. 1.
The Pacers’ defensive rating has dipped a bit this season, with most of the team’s improvement coming on offense. Turner remain a shot-blocking threat when he’s on the floor.
Sabonis is the other happy part of the George trade, a young big with a great feel for what the Pacers need from moment to moment. Lance Stephenson has been solid and almost disciplined in his super-sub role. Eight Pacers are averaging at least 8.0 ppg, so the team’s play doesn’t drop precipitously.
Nate McMillan made some Indiana fans nervous that he might not fully embrace the modern NBA’s push to the perimeter. But that’s where the Pacers’ greatest strides have come. He presides over a high-character locker room that makes his job a bit easier, too.
OVERALL GRADE: B+
Considering the wailing after George was traded and the low expectations that followed, the Pacers have been a pleasant surprise. They’re typically good at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and a solid start to their road schedule has them in line for a lower playoff spot in the East.
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