Pacers Finding Groove As Schedule Toughens
The Pacers did not have a great start to their 2019-2020 NBA season.
Indiana found itself 0-3 after a 96-94 defeat to the Detroit Pistons. It was the second loss of the season to the Pistons. Despite the stellar play of newly acquired point guard Malcolm Brogdon, the Pacers were struggling and to make matters worse Indiana would lose its starting center Myles Turner in the next game.
The Pacers would defeat the Nets despite losing Turner and improve to 1-3. Then the Calendar flipped from October to November and the Pacers would start finding their stride. Since the disastrous 0-3 start, the Pacers have gone 6-1 with the one loss coming in overtime to the Charlotte Hornets.
Indiana has seen its offensive and defensive ratings improve drastically in November. The offensive rating has gone from 105.0 to 110.9 (+5.9) and the defensive rating has improved from 108.3 t0 102.5 (-5.8). The Pacer’s net rating has risen from -3.3 to 8.4.
The Pacers currently have the fourth-best net rating for the month of November and the tenth best overall net rating on the season. Indiana has managed to improve this much all while Turner is still out but he is expected back soon.
A big help for the Pacers has been thier assists and turnover numbers. Indiana is second in the NBA in Assists to turnover ratio, assists ratio, and turnover percentage.
The Pacers have also gotten better play from their bench in the month of November. During the month of October, the Pacers bench ranked dead last in points per game at 18.0. Howevrr they have increased that number to 37.8 points per game in November which ranks No.12 during the month.
Key Players Returning From Injury
The plan this season for Indiana was always to keep things afloat until Victor Oladipo returns from injury. Oladipo, who tore his right quadriceps tendon back on January 23, is expected to be back sometime during December.
Once he returns from injury then the Pacers will get to see how good their team is and how great the Oladipo-Brogdon backcourt can be. Oladipo is slated to start working out with the Pacers G-League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, meaning his return could be getting closer.
The Pacers are also expecting Myles Turner to return soon as he is out with an ankle injury. Turner should return sometime between this week and next.
The Indiana Pacers have had issues this season already with injuries but it appears with Turner returning soon and Oladipo progressing that the Pacers should be at full strength sooner rather than later.
Schedule Gets Tougher
The main reason the Pacers need to be healthy is that their schedule is about to get a lot tougher.
The Pacers have played 10 games this season and none of them have come against a team currently .500 or better. That’s about to change as the Pacers will play the Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz, and Philadelphia 76ers in the next three weeks.
The Pacers will need to continue keeping themselves in good standing as far as playoff positioning is concerned until they get Oladipo back. Once he returns then the Pacers could have a team talented enough to compete with the top of the Eastern Conference.
Starting Friday, the Pacers will play the Rockets, Bucks, and then the Nets. Those three games will give the Pacers a better idea about how good their team can be until Oladipo is back on the court.