As someone who has been to Indiana, I can’t really say much about it. I mean, what can you say about the place that hasn’t already been said about Nebraska? Exactly. And yes, while I’m sure there might be a few more rivers or something like that in Nebraska, the one major difference is that John Mellencamp never wrote a song about Lincoln. The other major difference is of course Indiana gets to boast that they have the Pacers. Not pacemakers mind you, which are very popular in the state (along with the Ozarks), aye heart health joke. Regardless, I bring you the very hard-to-peg Pacers, which has a nice ring to it if we’re being non-sexual. And yes, we are being non-sexual, etiquette folks. But these non-sexualized (sorry SEO) Pacers have a chance to be anywhere from entertaining to middling and we shall gauge the levels of both after the jump…

2021-2022 Projected Indiana Pacers Depth Chart

Role PG SG SF PF C
Starters Malcolm Brogdon Caris LeVert Torrey Craig Domantas Sabonis Myles Turner
Depth T.J. McConnell
Limited Justin Holiday Jeremy Lamb Kelan Martin Goga Bitadza
Limited Chris Duarte

*T.J. Warren’s status continues to remain in flux. If healthy, he would slot into the starting SF, pushing Torrey Craig to the second team.

For a team that hasn’t won a playoffs series since 2017, having Rick Carlisle join the franchise certainly adds a sheen of that “championship mentality”, though I won’t discount the effect a stable coach may have on the team and its chemistry, especially when moving on from such a tumultuous first-year effort from the previous coach Nate Burkins. We can analyze the tangible, but in terms of what happens behind the scenes, it’s at least worth mentioning that there might be a positive effect here. A rising tide that raises all boats if you’re into nautical metaphors. Which I am. Obviously. But he’ll have a say in personnel and have a lot of hands in a lot of cookie jars, because cookies, and while he won’t magically solve the many injury issues the Pacers faced last season (every starter missed double-digit games), a competent top means a competent bottom. Non-sexual bro.

The two players that ultimately might make or break the Pacers season are nonother than Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner, who in the 20-21 season averaged 30+ PPG, 18+ RPG, and 7+ APG combined. And the dynamic at play here isn’t just how to get these players into the lineup and earning major minutes, it’s how these two players can do that with each other. While it certainly falls back on the first point on Carlisle, he’ll have to ultimately figure out how to match these two together in the most optimal way possible, and of course, do that with the veneer of “chemistry” once again rearing its ugly head.

That being said, all around this is a generally solid team despite coming off their worst season since 2010 and saying goodbye to Victor Oladipo. But I liked the addition of Caris LeVert late last year who offered similar production with less mileage and a full season from him could carry the team quite far. While the Pacers also lost Aaron Holiday and Doug McDermott, T.J. McConnell, Jeremy Lamb, and Justin Holiday are all key players on the depth chart.

With T.J. Warren still on the mend for the foreseeable future, including the start of the season, Torrey Craig should garner some attention. While he can’t match the scoring output of Warren, his solid perimeter defense should keep him on the floor enough to keep him active with his three-point shot. Bringing back T.J. McConnell was also a solid decision, a legit two-way player, his impact at the mid-range and his ability to move the ball is strong even behind Malcolm Brogdon.

Granted, the Pacers have a lot of work to do, but they are a young team with a new system and coach that could be a bit underrated heading into the season. If Warren can come back in some manner or form, and the team health can stay in a somewhat manageable state, we might not just have a playoffs team, but one that can actually win a series. Never pace with the Pacers. That’s a saying, right?

It is now. Maybe.

Probably not.

 

Jay is a longtime Razzball everything who consumes an egregious amount of Makers Mark as a vehicle to gain wisdom and augment his natural glow. Living in the D.C. area, he also likes spending time visiting the local parks and feeding lettuce to any turtles he encounters, including Mitch McConnell. You can follow him on Twitter @jaywrong.

  1. Zac says:
    (link)

    Sumner tore his Achilles, was traded to Brooklyn, and released from there already.

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