ESPN’s Zach Lowe says the Indiana Pacers have the talent to be as high as the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference.
Ultimately, whatever the Indiana Pacers put together on the floor will define them this season, but it bolsters confidence knowing plenty of experts believe the team took a step forward in the offseason.
One of those experts is Zach Lowe of ESPN, who put the NBA’s teams into tiers to sort out the hierarchy of the league. So where did the Pacers end up?
Lowe sees the Pacers as a ‘Rock Solid Playoff Team’, one that can make some noise in the Eastern Conference even if all of those offseason moves don’t add up.
Indy traded some defense (and maybe some rebounding) to juice a moribund offense, but they didn’t add enough shooting in the bargain to open space for all their slasher types. The roster may add up to exactly the sum of its parts.
And that’s fine. The Pacers have enough talent to hit the No. 4 range even if the players don’t complement each other in the magical way that lifts a team to a higher plane. They have Paul George, a surefire top-10 overall player. Paul George is a boss. Myles Turner will grow into his new last-line-of-defense responsibility faster than a typical 20-year-old. The fortified bench should hold steady after last season’s version almost single-handedly blew Indy’s first-round series against Toronto.
Lowe is in the camp that believes there is just too much talent and too many veterans on Indiana’s roster for them to find themselves out of the playoff picture. Depth hopefully won’t be an issue for the Pacers as they have players like Al Jefferson, Rodney Stuckey, and C.J. Miles to fill in the minutes when the starters need a break.
In his rankings, Lowe has the Pacers below the “Trilogy Participants” (Cleveland Cavalier, Golden State Warriors), the “Ain’t Never Gonna Give Up” (Los Angeles Clippers), and the “Best of the Rest” tiers (San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors), while grouping them with the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Utah Jazz.
Are the Pacers too high or too low in Lowe’s tiers? Let us know in the comments.