Indiana Pacers currently house a pair of budding stars

Domantas Sabonis & Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
Domantas Sabonis & Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Indiana Pacers are starting to turn heads. A season shifting win over the Lakers gave NBA fans an inside look as to how the Pacers take care of business. The Pacers are led by two budding stars that have been integral to the team’s early success.

The Indiana Pacers have exceeded the expectations of many with a 19-9 start to the season. That was solidified with a win over the 24-4 Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.

However, the Pacers still don’t get the respect or recognition they deserve.

In a side conversation, I was asked if the “Pacers are the best team in the league without a star currently.” In reply, I said, “Who says that they don’t have a star?”

There is a lot of truth to this.

The Pacers have a pair of stars who are shining in the absence of Victor Oladipo, the team’s all-star and leader in command.

One of the stars has proven to be consistent and clutch.

The guard scored seven points down the stretch to close out the win against the Lakers. That performance included a difficult reverse layup over Dwight Howard that proved to be the game-winner for the Pacers.

This star is Malcolm Brogdon.

Brogdon is quietly 11th in the league in clutch points per game with 3.6. The point guard also ranks in the top 10 in clutch assists per game with just under one.

Jimmy Butler is the only other player in the NBA who ranks higher than Brogdon in both categories.

However, Brogdon isn’t only productive in clutch situations. His play in closing moments is just an extension of his production throughout an entire game.

When the ball is in his hands plays are made.

While his turnovers have crept up slightly as the season has progressed, Brogdon is near a 2.5:1 assist to turnover rate.

Brogdon has also had some cold shooting games in December but is still shooting over 46% from the floor.

Additionally, he is a lock at the free-throw line, especially late in games.

This was a point of emphasis by the Lakers in defending Brogdon in the closing moments. The Lakers keyed LeBron James on Brogdon to keep the ball out of Brogdon’s hands at the end of the Lakers win. But Brogdon still found a way to close out the win for the Pacers.

Less quietly, but still, just as efficiently, Domantas Sabonis is emerging a star as well.

Sabonis is a walking double-double. The power forward has only had three games so far in the 2019-20 season where he has failed to post a double-double.

In the last 10 games, Sabonis has had at least 18 points in five of them. Additionally, he has had at least 14 boards in another five of those games.

However, where he might be the most underrated is as a passer. In the same 10 game stretch, Sabonis has had at least five assists in four games. Pretty solid for a big man.

All-in-all, Sabonis is averaging 18 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game through 26 contests. He has also shown the banging ability inside against other talented big men.

The only bugaboo that hits the center at times is in foul trouble. Even with this, Sabonis is a fixture on the floor in the fourth quarter for the Pacers and has been one of the most reliable players this season.

Next. Indiana Pacers: Three things learned in win over Lakers. dark

While most of the folks outside of central Indiana may not realize that the Pacers have stars on the roster other than the Thingamajig, those inside of the 317 are very much aware as the duo has brought the city and team energy.