Preview 2022/23 |  A transition season for the Pacers?

Preview 2022/23 | A transition season for the Pacers?

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The EuroBasket having just ended, Basket USA is starting its traditional presentation, franchise by franchise, of the upcoming NBA season. Like every year, this one takes the form of a countdown, from the worst record in the league to our favorite for the title of champion.

Today, we stay in the depths of the league and the Eastern Conference with the Pacers. The team will have a new face this season, which could still evolve over the next few weeks since transfer rumors have not left the Indiana franchise for a few months. Therefore, it is very difficult to predict the future trajectory of the Pacers, as long as the changes are not known.

In 2021/2022, the team was still led by the Malcolm Brogdon – Domantas Sabonis – Myles Turner trio. The first was injured for a large part of the season, the second was transferred to Sacramento and the third also squatted in the infirmary and the rumors of departure. Result: a season to forget with only 25 wins and 57 losses, including 24 losses in the last 30 matches…

The arrivals during the previous year of Tyrese Haliburton and then several rookies this summer, including Bennedict Mathurin (sixth choice), bring a breath of fresh air to a team that has been skating for two seasons. But Malcolm Brogdon left for Boston and the players who arrived in exchange do not have his profile or his qualities. And as two executives, two holders, Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, are likely to leave at any time, Rick Carlisle will clearly lack the talents and benchmarks to exist in the Eastern Conference.

We are therefore heading towards a strange season in Indiana, which can go in all directions, but which looks a lot like a transition season where young people, Haliburton, Chris Duarte or Mathurin will gradually take power, but gain little matches.

SUMMER MOVEMENTS

Arrivals Bennedict Mathurin (Draft), Andrew Nembhard (Draft), Aaron Nesmith, Daniel Theis (Celtics)
Departures : Ricky Rubio (Cavaliers), Malcolm Brogdon (Celtics), TJ Warren (Nets), Edmond Sumner (Nets)

PLAYER TO WATCH: Tyrese Haliburton

The face of the Pacers is him now. The franchise even dreams of making him its new Reggie Miller. Arrived during last season from Sacramento, the playmaker/back showed his potential during the few matches played with his new team. By compiling 17.5 points and 9.6 average assists with the Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton proved that he had the profile of a possible All-Star.

This is his objective for the 2022/2023 season and for that, he is aware that he will have to take a step in scoring. It is not his main strength, he who is more comfortable as a passer, but as Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon are no longer there and Myles Turner is first and foremost a defender, he will have to score points.

Now leader of a team, he will logically be targeted as a priority by the defenses, and his good percentages could suffer. This is the price to pay to become a star, a “franchise player”. The Pacers won’t really have any ambitions this season, so it’s the perfect year to make mistakes and move on. Clearly, the former Kings must explode this season if he wants to fulfill his individual objectives

Average age: 23.9 years old
Payroll: $94 million (30th)

THE IDEAL SCENARIO

Despite the insistent noise from the corridors, Myles Turner and Buddy Hield stay in Indiana, which makes life easier for Rick Carlisle. Tyrese Haliburton takes on the new dimension expected offensively and becomes downright All-Star while his association with the pivot is very interesting. His qualities as a passer also allow Buddy Hield (like Bennedict Mathurin) to shine at 3-pts and this trio becomes the base of the Pacers.

Around them, soldiers like TJ McConnell, Daniel Theis, Chris Duarte, Jalen Smith or Isaiah Jackson work in the shadows, and come out of the woods from time to time. Defensively, Rick Carlisle finally manages to advance the team, which suffered enormously in this area last season.

Despite its limitations, the group has established itself as a solid team and can play an itchy role in the East. Without real pretensions before the start of the season, the Pacers slowly accumulate victories and begin to have an appetite. They fight until the end to have a place in the “play-in”, even in the playoffs.

WORST SCENARIO

GM Chad Buchanan announced that Myles Turner would start the season in the Pacers jersey. He broke his promise and eventually gave in to an offer. Buddy Hield packed his bags around the same time or soon after (at the Lakers?) and Rick Carlisle lost two players just before the start of the regular season. Offsets don’t add much in the short term and the band drops significantly in quality.

Tyrese Haliburton is too alone offensively and in his quest to become an All-Star, he tends to force and plays less fair than last season. Chris Duarte and Bennedict Mathurin can’t speak and Indiana is among the worst offenses in the league. The defense, already inefficient with Myles Turner, is not improving either.

With a group changed so close to the starting line, Rick Carlisle could not build on any base and the team sank very quickly, chaining defeats in October and November. The regular season no longer has any interest and the leaders are mainly preparing the 2023 Draft, with Victor Wembanyama in everyone’s mind.

WEST CONFERENCE
15-Thunder 14- Spurs 13-Jazz 12 – … 11 – …
10 – … 9 – … 8 – … 7 – … 6 – …
5 – … 4 – … 3 – … 2 – … 1 – …
EAST CONFERENCE
15 – Magic 14 – Pacers 13 – … 12 – … 11 – …
10 – … 9 – … 8 – … 7 – … 6 – …
5 – … 4 – … 3 – … 2 – … 1 – …

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