The Pacers get some help with LeBron James out of their division, and into the Western Conference. The Pacers finished two games back of Cleveland for the division last season, and also pushed them to seven games in the playoffs. While they have to deal with Giannis and Milwaukee, they were four games above them. Chicago and Detroit are within the division, but aren’t huge threats to Indy right now. Milwaukee is the biggest threat to Indy right now, although Cleveland won’t be as bad as people expect. The Pacers should be among the top of the conference, but this year expectations are high.
Tyreke Evans will be a bench player, and has been an effective one. Evans played for a battered Memphis team last year, leading them with 19 points per game, and also averaging five assists and rebounds per game. Indy needed another scorer, and one that could come off the bench. Lance Stephenson and C.J. Miles were not cutting it. Evans is going to add some help, and also be able to play with multiple guards. Evans will draw some starts at times, but Indy plans to use him as a bench scorer, and also another body to create his own shot.
It took four years and two teams, but Victor Oladipo finally put everything together in Indy. He averaged 23 points per game, four assists, and five rebounds. He also averaged over two steals per game. Oladipo is a menace on both sides of the ball, and is now a full blown superstar in Indy. He now has higher expectations, and is a guy leading the way for a team. It will be his second year, and the production is going to be expected. Oladipo will have more help this year with Tyreke Evans coming in, and help take some pressure off.
It was the third year for Myles Turner last season, and he went down in minutes, rebounds, blocks, and points per game. Turner regressed a bit, and injuries hindered him at times, but he did take a step backwards. Indy is still hoping Turner is the guy of the future, and at the age of 22, he still has a lot of growing to go. The emergence of Damantas Sabonis and the Kyle O’Quinn signing will likely limit his minutes to be around 28-30 again, and he will be in control of his role. If he steps back again, Sabonis will be relied upon.
The Pacers have been bottom of the league over the last two seasons in rebounding. This is an area that needs to improve, but when you look at the roster it makes sense. Bojan Bogdanovic and Thaddeus Young are not strong rebounding forwards, and the overall size outside of the center position is on the smaller side. In the Eastern Conference where teams are a little bigger, Indy doesn’t have the size to matchup. Looking ahead at this season, Indy will likely be floating around the middle of the league in rebounding this season, which would be a plus for them if the offense continues to improve.