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The Pacers Made A Lot Of Moves, But Will They Pay Off?
Twenty-nine different opposing NBA teams will walk through the doors of Target Center to play the Wolves this season, and we want you to know as much as you can about all of them. What’s the order of the teams we’re previewing? It’s actually completely random! Now, a team with a ton of talent but relying on the recovery of an injured star.
Notable Players Acquired: Malcolm Brogdan (trade), Justin Holiday (free agency), Jeremy Lamb (free agency), T.J. McConnell (free agency), T.J. Warren (trade), Jakarr Sampson (free agency), Goga Bitadze (draft)
Notable Players Lost: Tyreke Evans (suspension), Cory Joseph (free agency), Wesley Matthews (free agency), Bojan Bogdanovic (free agency), Thaddeus Young (free agency), Kyle O’Quinn (free agency), Darren Collison (retirement)
What Went Down In 2018-19?
The Pacers had a good season that saw them finish fifth in the Eastern Conference but they lost in the first round of the playoffs to Boston. A very promising start was somewhat derailed by a serious injury to young star Victor Oladipo in late January. Oladipo suffered a torn quad tendon and missed the rest of the season and the playoffs.
Indiana’s future is definitely tied to Oladipo’s successful return from injury but the Pacers have some other nice young pieces on their roster that showed their worth later in the season. Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner both look like part of the future in Indiana even though there is some concern about them being able to play together since they take up similar areas of the court. However, with Turner working on adding a three-point shot to his game, the two of them could form one of the most interesting frontcourts in the league. There’s no question that when they both play Indiana can dominate on the glass. Both are excellent defenders as well, with Turner being more of a shot blocker and Sabonis being more of a post defender.
The Offseason Was. . .
A mixed bag. The Paces lost their second-leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic in free agency to the Pacers and bench contributor Tyreke Evans to suspension. The loss of Bogdanovic could hurt. He was their best three-point shooter by a good margin and a nice defender on the wing. However, Jeremy Lamb will help replace him to some degree, though he isn’t as good of a player, and adding Malcom Brogdon is a big deal given the departure of Collison, who chose to retire.
Brogdon continues to be extremely underrated and he will fit in nicely as the starting point guard in Indiana. In addition, adding T.J. Warren will give the Pacers another scoring option and Justin Holiday is a nice versatile piece to have in the backcourt.
The Pacers surprised many by drafting Goga Bitadze into an already crowded frontcourt, but there’s a strong chance that move works out well. The Pacers clearly think Sabonis and Turner can start together and Bitadze should play a good role for them off the bench.
The Big Question:
When will Oladipo return, and how healthy will he be? Big injuries like the one Oladipo suffered often have a longer timetable to get back to full basketball strength than they do to simply get on the court. Look at what happened with Gordon Hayward and Paul George. Oladipo can certainly get back to where he was but with his injury keeping him out likely until December or January, he won’t have a full season to get his legs under him. This Pacers roster is an interesting one but without Oladipo they aren’t elite. Indiana fans may have to bottle their excitement and hold onto it until the 2020-21 season.
This Writer’s Prediction
The Pacers will be a tough out every night and make the playoffs in a very topheavy East, but without Oladipo they aren’t in serious contention.
Describe This Team In 15 Words Or Less
An exciting collection of young players held back by an unfortunate injury to their star.