The Indiana Pacers were one of the biggest surprises in the NBA last season. They finished at 48-34, receiving the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. In their first-round series against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, they almost dethroned the defending East champs. The Pacers lost in seven games, but they clearly played like the better team, with a net rating of 4.4, per NBA.com.
Going into last season, the narrative surrounding the Pacers seemed as if the team was going to rebuild. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported the team traded Paul George last summer, and shortly after, she broke the news on them receiving Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Oladipo responded by taking the league by storm. He had career-highs in points per game (23.1), effective field goal percentage (53.7 percent), and assists per game (4.3). He went to his first All-Star game and took home the league’s Most Improved Player Award. Indiana is a hard-nosed team that is really solid defensively, and their offense should be much better around their budding star next season.
Indiana added a really good combo guard in Tyreke Evans in free agency, a sharpshooter in Doug McDermott, and added frontcourt depth in a signing of Kyle O’Quinn. The first reason they have a chance to win the East is due to added perimeter playmaking.
Next Up: More Perimeter Playmaking