Indiana Pacers: 30 greatest players in franchise history

(Photo by Andy Hayt/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Hayt/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Indiana Pacers
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7. Rik Smits

Indiana Pacers fans love loyalty in their players. Few guys in team history were as dedicated to the Circle City as one Rik “The Dunking Dutchman” Smits. Not only does he have arguably the coolest nickname of any Pacer ever, but he also spent all 12 of his NBA seasons with the team, helping him vault up these rankings from sheer longevity alone.

But Smits’ extended tenure with the Pacers isn’t the only reason he’s at No. 7 on this list. The 7-foot-4 center was a shot blocking, bucket getting beast with an awesome touch from the free-throw line for his size. He made an All-Rookie team in his first season and eventually earned the honor of All-Star in 1997-1998.

In this season, Smits scored nearly 17 points per game to go along with 7 boards. These aren’t crazy numbers, but his value on the defensive end buttressed with these numbers was enough to earn him his All-Star honors.

Rik Smits eventually retired after starting at center for 79 games in the 1999-2000 campaign, which of course, was the Eastern Conference Championship season for the Pacers. His loyalty to the team was sadly never rewarded with a title, but he and his teammates came closer than any other Pacers ever.