Monday, 24 Jun 2024

2021-22 Season Preview: Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers have had their fair share of challenges in recent years. From injuries to coaching changes, they have faced adversity both on and off the court. However, if there’s one area where the Pacers should focus their attention, it’s their defense. Head coach Rick Carlisle has made it a priority to improve the team’s defensive performance, and for good reason.

Despite ranking 14th in points per 100 possessions, the Pacers struggled in several defensive categories. They were 24th in fast-break points allowed, last in opponents’ second-chance points, and last in points given up in the paint. These defensive shortcomings overshadowed the offensive prowess of the team.

One of the biggest questions for the Pacers this season is who will step up to fill the roles left by injured players such as T.J. Warren and Caris LeVert. With no known return dates for these key players, others like Justin Holiday, Oshae Brissett, Jeremy Lamb, Torrey Craig, or rookie Chris Duarte will have the opportunity to prove themselves early in the season.

The Pacers finished last season at 34-38, falling short of their anticipated record. Their success this season will depend on their ability to stay healthy, improve their defense, and find the right balance among their players. With a predicted finish of 41-41, the Pacers hope to return to the playoffs after missing out last year.

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Projected Starting Five:

  • Malcolm Brogdon: A reliable player who may have the luxury of shooting less often this season.
  • Caris LeVert: Optimism surrounds his clean start in training camp, despite a back injury.
  • Torrey Craig: Likely to step in as a defensive force while Warren is sidelined.
  • Domantas Sabonis: The two-time All-Star will need to find the best way to play alongside Myles Turner.
  • Myles Turner: The team’s priority is to broaden his offensive game and keep him healthy.

Key Reserves:

  • T.J. McConnell: A disruptor on the court who brings valuable skills to the team.
  • T.J. Warren: Still recovering from a foot injury, he has yet to showcase his full potential.
  • Justin Holiday: With the departure of Doug McDermott, his scoring off the bench will be crucial.
  • Jeremy Lamb: Despite injury concerns and trade speculation, his scoring ability is an asset.
  • Chris Duarte: A rookie who could benefit from available minutes and contribute with his defensive skills.

Over the past five seasons, the Pacers have had varying levels of success. Their offensive and defensive ratings have been inconsistent, but they aim to improve their overall performance this season.

One statistic worth noting is that the Pacers allowed the most points in the paint per game last season, with an average of 53.8. This is the highest opponent mark in the 25 years that points in the paint have been tracked.

In summary, the Indiana Pacers have a lot to prove this season. Their success will hinge on their ability to stay healthy, improve their defense, and find the right balance among their players. With the help of new coach Rick Carlisle, they aim to return to the playoffs and make a strong postseason run.

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