• Dennis Dow

Indiana Pacers Mount Rushmore

OTG Basketball presents, NBA Mount Rushmore, where we look at who belongs on the Mount Rushmore of each team in the league. Up next, is the Indiana Pacers.

The Indiana Pacers have had a long history in the NBA that is full of some really good teams that could never win the ultimate prize. Despite their ABA success, three championships, they have only been to the NBA Finals once. With that said, there have been many really good players for this franchise. Let's get to the Pacers Mount Rushmore.

Reggie Miller

When you think of the Indiana Pacers, you think of Reggie Miller. Miller was the underdog that folks in Indiana didn't want. Miller was drafted by the Pacers in 1987, but the folks in Indiana wanted them to take Indiana University star Steve Alford. It did not take long for Reggie Miller to pay dividends for the Pacers. He made the All-Star team in his third season in the league and became the foundation of the team until his retirement at the end of the 2004-05 season. Miller had so many iconic moments during his run with the Pacers including his 8 points in 9 seconds, his game winning shot against Jordan and the Bulls, and his incredible bank shot (that shouldn't have counted) against the Nets. There are many more. Miller goes down as the franchise leader in most statistical categories for the franchise including games, minutes played, field goals, free throws, assists, steals, and points.

Mel Daniels

Mel Daniels was the star of the Pacers in their ABA days. As an undersized center, Daniels was a monster on the glass and an intimidating presence for the Pacers. He won two MVP awards and three championships as a member of the franchise during their ABA days. Daniels put up 19 points and 16 rebounds per game for the franchise. He still holds the record for most rebounds in franchise history and was a member of the front office for the franchise for many years after the team's move to the NBA.

Jermaine O'Neal

Jermaine O'Neal is a player that slips through the cracks when discussing the best players in the NBA during the 00s. He was the go-to player for some really good Pacer teams that were derailed due to an unprecedented NBA event, the Malice at the Palace. O'Neal was selected as an All-Star for the franchise more than any other player and still holds the franchise record for blocks. O'Neal finished third in MVP voting in 2004 and won the NBA's Most Improved Player Award in 2002. O'Neal was the best player on the 2003-04 team that won a franchise record 61 games. They fell short of reaching the Finals, but looked like strong contenders for the 05 Finals, only to have the Malice at the Palace derail their entire season. O'Neal was a force for those Indiana teams inside.

Rik Smits

While there may be players that were "better" for the franchise that could have gone in this spot, Rik Smits takes it for me. He was an iconic player for the team and has one of the greatest nicknames ever for an NBA player, the Dunkin' Dutchman. Smits played his entire career for the Pacers and was a big part of their success in the 90s, culminating with the franchise's only trip to the Finals in 2000. Smits goes down as number two in many categories in franchise history including games, minutes played, field goals, blocks, and points. Smits was huge for the Pacers in their match-ups in the mid 90s with the Knicks and Magic. He was always a fan favorite in Indiana and belongs on the Mount Rushmore.