Now, in the first week of 2020, what better time to look back at the highlights that made the 2010s great for the Indiana Pacers.
The last ten years have been some of the best in franchise history for the Indiana Pacers. In a decade full of ups and downs, the Pacers’ accomplishments were deserved and hard-earned.
The decade included two trips to the Eastern Conference Finals and some of the most memorable moments in franchise history.
While they were never able to surpass LeBron James and advance to The Finals, where the franchise has had only one appearance, the Pacers had a tremendous decade.
Luckily, the decade finished stronger than it started.
The 2009-10 and 2010-11 teams combined for only 69 wins between those two seasons. However, the 2010-11 team set the tone fo the rest of the decade. That season, the Pacers got back on track and made the playoffs.
Even though the Pacers were swept by Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls in the first round, that season started a streak of four straight playoff appearances.
In fact, the Pacers made the playoffs in eight of nine seasons during the decade.
After letting Jim O’Brien go in 2011, Larry Bird turned to little-known Frank Vogel. All Vogel did was lead the team to the playoffs in five of his six seasons at the helm.
The only lost season was when Paul George broke his leg while with Team USA.
When Larry Legend decided it was time for a new voice, he turned to veteran head coach Nate McMillan. McMillan gave the team a new look while also continuing success.
The Pacers haven’t won less than 42 games since he took charge.
Again, the consistency of the decade was staggering. The first year of the 2010s was the last portion of the rebuild following Malice at the Palace.
While still not the most popular franchise, a lot changed when Indiana drafted George. He was not a completely unknown commodity, but still flew under the radar and dropped to the Pacers at the 10th pick of the 2010 NBA Draft.
George had modest success in his first two campaigns, but with a larger role came greater output.
He eventually became a four-time all-star with Indiana and a true leader for the Blue and Gold in his seven seasons in the Hoosier state.
George and company pushed LeBron to the brink but fell just short.
After giving some hope at a charity softball game that he would stay with the organization long-term, George changed course.
This took the Pacers down a different path to wrap up the decade.
Just when it looked like it was going to be dark times again for the franchise, Kevin Pritchard pulled a rabbit out of his hat with a face familiar to those in Indiana.
Pritchard would bring Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to Indiana by trading away George.
Most of the national media decided the Pacers got fleeced during the initial trade. However, it is evident now that the Pacers won the deal.
The tide was again altered for the Pacers on Jan. 23, 2019 when Oladipo ruptured his right quad tendon.
The Pacers fought down the stretch without Oladipo but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics.
Indiana lost in the first round in five of its eight playoff appearances during the decade. While losing in the first round became common for the franchise, it is hard to find teams that were more consistent.
The only teams that went to the playoffs more than the Pacers since 2010 are the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma Thunder, and Celtics with nine appearances each.
The Atlanta Hawks tied the Pacers with eight.
Sure, there were tough times over the past ten years. However, the Pacers have been a model of consistency and have given us all we can ask for. Here is to the next 10 years.