2019-20 NBA Team Preview Series: Indiana Pacers
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
The 2019-2020 NBA season starts October 22nd and to get you ready for tip-off, Off the Glass is previewing all 30 teams. Today we look at the Indiana Pacers.
2018-2019 Record: 48-34, 2nd in the Central Division. Lost 0-4 to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Season Recap: The Pacers started last season with a ton of momentum after giving the Cleveland Cavaliers everything they could handle the previous year in the playoffs. That momentum carried them to a 31-15 start to the season heading into a January game with the Toronto Raptors. Victor Oladipo left that game with a serious injury that would keep him out for the remainder of the season. The Pacers did their best going 17-19 and maintaining the 5th best record in the East thanks in large part to Bojan Bogdanovic, Myles Turner, and Domantas Sabonis. Without their All-Star though, the Pacers were swept out of the playoffs by the Celtics.
Key Losses: Bojan Bogdanovic, F; Darren Collison, G; Cory Joseph, G; Wesley Matthews, G; Kyle O’Quinn, C; Thaddeus Young, F;
Key Additions: TJ Warren, F; Malcolm Brogdon, G; Jeremy Lamb, G; Justin Holiday, G; TJ McConnell, G;
Preview: The Pacers come into this season with a lot of hope. Victor Oladipo is due to return sometime in the middle of the season and they have done a great job bolstering their backcourt and providing some more scoring. Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, and TJ McConnell will hope to keep the Pacers afloat while they wait for Oladipo. TJ Warren was a gift from Phoenix and he can provide some scoring for the team. Indiana has been a good to great defensive team under head coach Nate McMillan and if they can replicate that defense this season, they should be able to win some games.
The key for this team is the return of Victor Oladipo and what they can expect from him when he returns. They will have to rely on their new additions and their two young big men, Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis to stay afloat until their superstar comes back. It will be interesting to see how McMillan chooses to use his two big men and whether a move might be in the future for one of them. They only played 433 minutes together last season and it is unclear whether or not they can play together effectively and if they can’t, the Pacers might not have a choice of whether or not to search for a move that brings them some help.
Player to Watch: Myles Turner
Team X-Factor: Defense
Worst Case Scenario: Indiana struggles mightily without Oladipo and when he does come back, he is not effective and the Pacers miss the playoffs.
Best Case Scenario: Indiana is able to win without Oladipo and when he returns, he takes them to another level and gets them to the three seed in the East.
Actual 2019-2020 Prediction: 45-37, 2nd Central Division