Your Ball: Are Pacers still a playoff team?

Myles Turner and the Pacers are a remade, but maybe not a worse, overall team.

A lot has happened to the Indiana Pacers since being swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs in May.

Larry Bird resigned. Monta Ellis got waived. C.J. Miles got traded. And Paul George … well, you know the story.

That’s not all. Jeff Teague signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Aaron Brooks and Lavoy Allen entered free agency and aren’t expected to return. On and on it goes.

Based on all of the above, you might say the Pacers are headed for a terrible season and perhaps a nice pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. And you may be right.

But there may be some things to like about this new band of Pacers, too.

For one, coach Nate McMillan and big man Myles Turner return, and they remain two large reasons for hope.

Shooting guard Victor Oladipo has failed to live up to the wild hype that surrounded him entering the 2013 draft — but maybe a return to Indiana, where he played his college ball, will give him an extra push. Many around the league believe Oladipo has been a victim of circumstance, and is now ready to shine. He will certainly get every opportunity.

Point guards Darren Collison and Cory Joseph are also new (Collison is actually a Pacer for the second time), and while neither is considered an ultra-dynamic floor leader, both are fairly steady and always play hard.

There’s more.

Pacers first-round draft pick T.J. Leaf is a skilled big man with a high upside — and second-year forward Domantas Sabonis, also obtained in the George deal with Oklahoma City, still has promise.

The question is, will it be enough? Will the Pacers be able to return to the playoffs, and show they’re as good without George as they were with him last season?

Will they play hard, play smart and play like a team with lots of pride? Or would they be better off taking it easy, keeping the young guys in the game with an eye on development and the other on the next lottery pick?

Remember, this is the Eastern Conference. Being a seed in the No. 6-8 range isn’t as tough as it is out West.

Anyway, let us know your thoughts on the Pacers in the comments section below, and we will read and respond!

13 Comments on "Your Ball: Are Pacers still a playoff team?"

  1. No idc about the pacers I want melo to cavs

    • Haha, I know you do. All I can say is I don’t think that dream is dead for Cavs fans. Maybe dying a little, but certainly not dead yet. 🙂 – Sam

  2. If Myles Turner plays at an elite level and takes over the role PG-13 did, that is…make big plays down the stretch and be the go to guy, then yes! I think they’re a playoff team!

    • I think you make a valid point, Deven. It will be interesting to see how far aturner can take them now that it is clearly his team. Thanks for commenting! – Sam A.

  3. Don’t forget about Bogdanovic and keep in mind the Pacers probably are not done yet. Still have 5.7 of cap space for a guy like Willie Reed and I would like to see them move Al Jefferson if possible. They need one more rebounder and one more shooter, perhaps Courtney Lee!

    • Great thoughts, Kevin! Totally forgot about Bogdanovic. He could turn out to be an underrated addition. I agree they are likely done yet. Thanks! – Sam

  4. By the way, Paul George did not play hard for Indy and was not a dynamic leader like Myles Turner can be! Turner is still very young but a really great guy and teammate. If the new guys can develop some chemistry together, this team could be a 6-8 seed.

    • Would be cool to see them finish 6th, or a spot higher than last season. Nothing against George, but it’s always nice to see the underdog do well.

  5. Pacers were just two games from a lottery pick with PG. I can’t imagine this team Pritchard has put together will do any worse. No superstar…. just a bunch of scrappy guys that will share the ball. I think they will be fun to watch.

    • I am with you all the way on that, Dennis. I like McMillan in these situations. His teams tend to play hard and overachieve. At least, they sure did for a few years there in Seattle. Will be interesting to see if they can do the same with this group. Like you said, should be fun finding out. – Sam

  6. I think Lance will be a big determining factor on where this team finishes this year. Last year, it was Stephenson who brought the unbridaled energy and willed this team to the playoffs. If he can accept being a sixth man and excel at it, it can be the difference.

    • Agreed, Shane. Both Lance and the Pacers seem to need each other. His presence, like you said, could be a big factor on a team that needs a veteran voice. -Sam

  7. Would rather get a playoff seed then be in the lottery this years draft class seems like it’s not going to be as talented and deep as this draft class was . Other then Michael porter I don’t see anyone else really . If Myles turner can average 20 points and 10 rebounds and make a all star team they will make playoffs with ease and maybe even have better team chemistry seemed like ever since PG has been the guy he never wanted to be a leader of a team

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