Indiana Pacers 2019-2020 Season Awards
The Indiana Pacers started the year with a lot of uncertainty, as their best player (or so they thought) Victor Oladipo was slated to be out for a number of games to start the season. Head coach Nate McMillan’s crew rose to the occasion, however, and the Pacers record currently stands at 39-26, good for fifth place in the East. That’s even ahead of the much-hyped 76ers!
With Quarantine taking away four months of play before returning in July, the Pacers will be even better suited, as Oladipo will have had way more time to heal his injury from a season ago.
While the Pacers might not be as good of a team as the Celtics, Raptors or Bucks, I think that we can all say that they’re in the best position possible given the circumstances that they faced coming into this year. Nonetheless, here are your Indiana Pacers 2019-2020 team awards:
Most Valuable Player - Domantas Sabonis
Come on, it’s Domantas Sabonis, the team’s lone All-Star this season. Sabonis’ playing style benefits everyone else around him, as he is an exceptional passer and can create his own shot. Averaging a double-double on the year also explains his case, scoring 18.5 points per game and 12.4 rebounds per game.
Despite being physical all season long, Sabonis has missed only three games. Sabonis helped the Pacers insert themselves firmly in the playoff picture. Indiana should feel great about giving Sabonis the contract extension that he wanted before the start of the season.
Defensive Player of the Year - TJ Warren
TJ Warren is the proud recipient of this award. Warren takes his defensive game just as seriously as his offensive game, and has been excellent at guarding the wing.
The Pacers acquired Warren in a cash trade with the Suns this last off-season. Not a bad move for Indiana.
Sixth Man of the Year - Justin Holiday
There is no better man for this award than Justin Holiday. Holiday appeared in every game for Indiana this season, and he averaged just under 25 minutes per game. Holiday posted a career-high in shooting percentage, and sunk 42 percent of his three point shots while taking more than four of them per night. Holiday has by far been the most consistent player off of the bench for Indiana this season, and one of the premier reserves in the entire league.
Rookie of the Year - Goga Bitadze
Considering that there are only two rookies on the Pacers roster, and only one of them has received a decent amount of playing time, this award goes to Goga Bitadze, the 7-footer from Georgia. Bitadze’s role is basically a professional Myles Turner’s back-up, and for a rookie he got the job done.
Turner was out with an injury for eight games near the beginning of the season, and Bitadze saw significant playing time in four of those games. In those four games, Bitadze had a positive plus-minus in three of them. Bitadze was a good pick-up by the Pacers in last year’s draft to add depth behind Myles Turner.
Most Improved Player of the Year - Domantas Sabonis
It’s easily the team MVP, Domantas Sabonis. Sabonis was a player that showed potential in the previous season, only to become a full-blown All-Star this season.
Sabonis has become a tremendous offensive player and it’s justifiable to think that he’s going to continue to get even better in the following seasons as Sabonis is only 24 years old.