Through eight games, the Indiana Pacers are among the best teams in the NBA.
Despite some close games to open the season, the Indiana Pacers are proving to be a threat in the Eastern Conference. In a small sample size this season, Indiana is one of the most efficient teams in the NBA on both ends of the court. If this stays true all season, they will make some noise in the playoffs.
The biggest concern coming out of the preseason was Indiana’s struggles with turnovers as they grew into a new offensive system. The exhibitions were sloppy from start to finish, but the Pacers cleaned things up in that regard once the real games began. They are currently eighth in the NBA with a 12.4% turnover rate. Taking care of the ball and getting good shots is making the offense dangerous.
The offense is currently 11th in the league in rating, coming in at 112.7. For reference, the Pacers were 19th in the NBA last season in this category at just 110.0 despite taking even better care of the ball, turning it over on just 12.0% of possessions. The offense has drastically improved under Nate Bjorkgren, at least so far.
Defensively, Indiana is still seventh in the league behind a strong start from Myles Turner and Malcolm Brogdon. Turner is the NBA’s leader in blocked shots by a substantial margin while Brogdon and Victor Oladipo employ active hands and force turnovers that lead to points. Indiana is third in the league with a 15.0% turnover rate on defense.
To make things even more apparent for Indiana, their effective field goal percentage is showing that good shots are coming in the offense. Their effective field goal percentage (eFG%), which adjusts for three-point attempts accounting for more points, is second in the NBA at 56.0 percent. Open shots and an increase in three-point attempts are leading to a much-improved Pacers offense.
Obviously, this is a small sample with still plenty of time left in the season but this is a great start to the new tenure of Nate Bjorkgren. Indiana is looking like one of the premier teams in the NBA as they near their first road trip of the season.