Picking the best seasons by an Indiana Pacers’ All-Star
The All-Star game will soon be upon us, basketball fans! The Indiana Pacers have their representative in Domantas Sabonis who is making his second All-Star game appearance.
With the All-Star game quickly approaching, I thought to myself “what are the best seasons for an Indiana Pacer while being an All-Star?” So I set out on a quest to find out the answers to my question.
The Indiana Pacers in total have 49 All-Star selections between their time in the NBA and ABA. For the sake of this article, I’m going to only look at their time while in the NBA. I won’t count the ABA as I’m not familiar enough with the history and from the looks of it Mel Daniels and George McGinnis would make up the entire list basically. I highly encourage you to go look up these stats because they are jaw-dropping.
What are the best NBA seasons by an Indiana Pacers All-Star?
Before we get into it, I’m not including Sabonis from this season since the season isn’t over yet. Furthermore, this list is not in any particular order.
Domantas Sabonis (2020-2021)
18.5 points, 12.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists per game
Domantas Sabonis’ first of what seems like many All-Star nods for the Lithuanian big man came just last season. Sabonis had a career year setting new highs for points, rebounds, and assists in a season for the then 23-year-old big man. Sabonis’ Pacers squad went 45-28 and were swept in the first round of the playoffs. The sad part of this story is we never got to see this Sabonis in a playoff setting as he missed the entire 2020 Orlando Bubble with plantar fasciitis.
Danny Granger (2008-2009)
25.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1 steal, 1.4 blocks per game
This is arguably the best year from Danny Granger in his entire 10-year NBA career. Danny Granger had an explosive season earning him his first and only All-Star appearance. Granger actually had such an excellent season that he won the Most Improved Player for the ‘08-’09 season.
The Pacers finished the season 36-46 and missed the playoffs. The result of this season was earning the 10th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft in which we selected some small forward out of Fresno State.
Paul George (2015-2016)
23.1 points,7 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.9 steals per game
In his first full season back after his gruesome leg injury in a Team USA exhibition game, Paul George made his third All-Star game appearance. The then 25-year-old George started in 81 regular-season games that season as the Pacers finished with a 45 – 37 record.
Paul George made the third-team All-NBA that season and took the 7th seeded Pacers to seven games against the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs.
Victor Oladipo (2017-2018)
23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.4 steals(Led the NBA) per game
The first season of Victor Oladipo was a special year for both Oladipo and Pacer’s fans alike. Oladipo and Domnatas Sabonis were sent to Indy in the Paul George trade. Oladipo erupted and had the best year of his career to date.
He made his first All-Star appearance, won the Most Improved Player, won the steals crown, and finished as an All-NBA third-team selection. Oladipo’s Pacers eventually fell to LeBron James and the Cavaliers in a remarkable 7 game series.
Metta World Peace (2003-2004)
18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.1 steals per game
Metta World Peace (who went by Ron Artest at the time) only made the All-Star team once in his 17-year career. That nod came in the ‘03-’04 season which is arguably the best year of World Peace’s career.
World Peace put up very impressive offensive stats but his true impact was felt on the defensive side of the basketball. He went on to be a first-team All-Defense selection and won Defensive Player of the Year for that season.
Detlef Shrimpf (1992- 1993)
19.1 points, 9.5 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal per game
In his final season with the Indiana Pacers, Detlef Shrimpf made his first of three career appearances in the All-Star game. The 30-year-old small forward played in all 82 games for the Pacers that season, starting in 60 of them.
The Pacers finished with a 41-41 record that season and made the playoffs as the 8th and final seed. The Pacers eventually fell to the New York Knicks in four games.
Jermaine O’Neal (2002-2003)
20.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2.3 blocks per game
Jermaine O’Neal would be selected to his second of six straight All-Star selections in ‘02-’03. O’Neal was a two-time player of the month winning the award for the months of January and April.
He was selected to the third team All-NBA, his first of three career selections. Indiana finished second in the Central Division with a 48-34 record losing in the first round to the Boston Celtics in a six-game series.
Jermaine O’Neal (2003-2004)
20.1 points, 10 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.6 blocks per game
This would be the third consecutive All-Star game for the then 24-year-old big man. Arguably the best year of Jermaine O’Neal’s career saw him make the All-NBA second team, the highest All-NBA selection of his career.
The Pacers won the Central Division title that season finishing with a record of 61-21, the only 60 win Pacers team in franchise history. The Pacers fell short to the eventual champion Detroit Pistons in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Jermaine O’Neal (2004 – 2005)
24.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 2 blocks per game
In a shortened season due to the Malice in the Palace, Jermaine O’Neal made his fourth All-Star game in a row. O’Neal only played in 44 games that season, starting in 41 of them. O’Neal was suspended 15 games for his role in the Malice at the Palace.
A depleted Pacers team finished with a 44-38 record that season and fell to the Detroit Pistons in six games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Reggie Miller (1989-1990)
24.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.3 steals per game
The ‘89-’90 NBA season would be the very first time that Reggie Miller would make an appearance in the All-Star game. In his 3rd season in the NBA, the 24-year-old Miller would have one of the best seasons of this career.
Miller started in all 82 games that season and led the Pacers to a 42-40 record. The Pacers made the playoffs as an 8th seed and were swept by the Detroit Pistons.
Reggie Miller (1995- 1996)
21 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1 steal per game
Arguably one of the best seasons of Reggie Miller’s came in the ‘96-’97 season. However, this would be the second time in Reggie Miller’s career that he would make an All-Star appearance. Reggie Miller would make his first All-NBA team as a third-team selection and led the Pacers to a 52- 30 record and a Central Division title.
The Pacers eventually fell to the Shaquille O’Neal led Orlando Magic in 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals.