It’s that time of the year again folks, and with less than a week until the 20-21 NBA season starts, let’s take a dive into the Pacers’ upcoming season in Betting Midwest’s Indiana Pacers season preview.
Indiana Pacers Season Preview – A Quiet Yet Satisfying Offseason
The Pacers were at the top of all NBA trade rumors this off-season for a roster shake over, giving us a lot to discuss in this NBA season preview, and although no roster adjustments were made, they did address an area that needed improvement in firing head coach Nate McMillian. McMillan owned an underwhelming 3-16 playoff record and four first-round exits during his time in Indiana.
As excited as I am about this change, I will give him the benefit of the doubt. In his defense, his playoff woes can be attributed to missing guys like Oladpio and Sabonis, but nonetheless, I think we can all agree it was time for a change.
League-wide there was a lot of coaching turnover, and the Pacers had their choice of many big names but decided against that approach and Kevin Pritchard opted to go with first-year coach Nate Bjorkgren. Bjorkgren came over from Nick Nurse’s staff in Toronto where he was the head assistant.
Indiana Pacers Season Preview – Coach Bjorkgren Calling the Shots
Before I dig in I am aware that they have dropped their first two pre-season games to the Cavaliers, but in a new system under a new coach, it is going to take some time to adjust. Plus it’s pre-season, so take it with a grain of salt as it’s the time to work out the kinks and rust.
If you have had the chance to catch a Pacers preseason game then you have seen the change of style, the change of philosophy, and the emphasis that is put on space and pace. We have also seen the full-court pressure to slow opposing teams from getting into their offense earlier in the shot clock which is leading to more turnovers and run-outs on the break.
The most notable change in the new system is the Pacers have attempted 40 and 44 threes in two games. This was a team that only averaged 28 per game last season. All these changes are things we hoped to see Coach Bjorkgren replicate from his time in Toronto, and so far we are getting our wish.
Coming out of the gate there is going to be some hiccups for this team. TJ Warren is fighting plantar fasciitis and is week to week moving forward. Oladipo is still trying to find his speed and three preseason games are not enough time to master a new offense and defense.
Expect some early losses and some frustration. Fingers will be pointed, but remember that this group has only played a total of 86 minutes together. That stat is actually insane when you think about this team winning 45 games last year.
This is where being patient comes in because as the season moves along things will settle in for this group. Hopefully, we get the TJ Warren that we saw in the bubble back in March, Sabonis 100% healthy, and Myles becoming a factor in the offense and not just a body that takes up space. Brogdon also needs time to find a rhythm with Oladipo, and bench production night in and night out will be crucial.
Indiana Pacers Season Preview – Season Prediction
This team has shown in the past that they don’t need superstars to win regular-season games. I expect the same case to be made this season even with some teams in the East adding more talent. The Pacers will do enough to land in that 4-6 range in the playoffs but what they will need is Oladpio to regain some of that all-star form to potentially make it out of the first round this year.
This is not a championship roster, but at this point I am excited for a second round exit roster at full strength.
Projected starting lineup:
- PG: Malcolm Brogdon
- SG: Victor Oladipo
- SF: TJ Warren – Currently Injured – Expect Aaron Holiday to slot in early.
- PF: Domantas Sabonis
- C: Myles Turner
Projected Finish: 43-29