A year after reaching the playoffs and losing to the Boston Celtics in a four game sweep, the Indiana Pacers are looking to once again do the same, though this time with more success. The Victor Oladipo trade seems to have worked perfectly as Paul George isn’t even in OKC while Oladipo has grown into a star. Look for more of the same as the Pacers remain one of the best defensive teams in the league as indicated by their 104.7 points allowed by opponents and 106.5 defensive rating which ranked 1st and 3rd, respectively. Adding Malcolm Brogdon will certainly help in that department and Myles Turner will once again be one of the best blocking centers in the league.
After being with Milwaukee his whole career, Malcolm Brogdon will depart the Bucks and join the Pacers on a 4 year, $85 million dollar contract. While that’s surely a steep price to pay for someone who doesn’t even averaged 30 minutes per game and has struggled with staying on the court in his past two years, he’s exactly the type of player that fits into Indiana’s system. He’s a great defensive player with the versatility to guard every position. In a league with so many elite guards, Brogdon will do a great job in locking up those top tier point guards and allow Victor Oladipo to conserve energy on the offensive end. On the offensive side, you can’t overlook his 15.6 points average last season nor his 92.8% free throw percentage that ranked tops among the league.
After suffering a season ending injury that many though would knock Indiana out of the playoffs, the team instead rallied from Victor Oladipo’s injury and ended up as the 5th seed in the East. This season, they’ll get Oladipo back for hopefully a full season and look for him to return to his pre-injury days. He broke out for 23.1 points and a league high 2.4 steals in his first year with the Pacers and dropped to 18.8 points and 1.7 steals in a shortened season last year. If his recovery goes well and according to plan, Oladipo will be slowly eased into game action and produce effectively once the team deems him ready. He’ll be their first option on offense and have a bid as comeback player of the year.
Another newcomer to Indiana is T.J. Warren. He came over from the Phoenix Suns in a trade that also netted the Pacers the #32 overall pick in last year’s draft. This was another one of Phoenix’s confusing moves as they wanted to shed the rest of Warren’s salary and was willing to let him and a pick go for basically nothing. For the Pacers, he’s been a consistent double digit scorer who’s bound to be another big threat in their game. Last year, he shot a career high 42.8% from behind the arc which is surely due for some regression. Even so, he’s got room to grow for Indiana as they look for another big scoring threat alongside Oladipo.
After coming off the bench for most of last year, Domantas Sabonis will project as the opening night starter at power forward. He was a great asset for the Pacers as he almost secured double-double averages despite only making 5 starts. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.3 rebounds last season and looks to improve on those numbers if he cracks the starting lineup. Defensively, he offers the least of the starters but can certainly make up for it with his shooting. While he rarely took any threes last year, he did hit 52.9% of them.
Myles Turner has been a consistent starter for the Pacers ever since his sophomore season. After averaging only 13.3 points and 7.2 rebounds last season, Turner remains one of the more intriguing players on Indiana’s roster. He’s not the offensive threat that any of the other starters are and doesn’t rebound particularly well for a center. However, he is a versatile big man and led the league in blocks last year with an average of 2.7. Turner is a big and long center who provides Indiana with great interior defense and the deterrent for teams from driving in the paint.