The Indiana Pacers are now down four starters with Myles Turner spraining his ankle. Recent struggles and injuries could play a major part in the future of the Pacers.
The Pacers simply can’t catch a break. Myles Turner injured his ankle in the third quarter of last night’s game against Chicago. This now makes four of the five starters out with injury, joining Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis, and T.J. Warren. Caris LeVert remains the lone starter on a team with playoff aspirations.
Myles Turner’s injury is just the latest blow to the Indiana Pacers
This situation provides a unique set of circumstances for the Indiana Pacers. With four of five starters out you more than likely won’t win too many in the NBA. The Pacers have to ask themselves what do you want from the rest of the season. The injured starters will eventually come back – besides T.J. Warren – but with the Pacers currently sitting a game above the Bulls in the ninth spot, but can they survive an impending slide in the standings?
It seems the Pacers are destined for the play-in tournament this season. Team chemistry has been in the gutter for most of the season and the Pacers have struggled to find any rhythm at all. The team is also too good to fall out of the bottom five of the conference but not good enough to rise up the standings.
The Pacers have the opportunity to make the play-in tournament as a nine or ten seed and still get a lottery pick. Depending on where they end up in the lottery could be crucial. Since the draft lottery odds were changed in 2019 at least one team that has been in the seventh and eighth pick range in the lottery has moved into the top five each season (Memphis and New Orleans in 2019 and the Charlotte Hornets in 2020). If there is a year to stink, this is the year as this upcoming draft class is loaded with talent.
The Pacers currently sit with the 12th-worst record in the league and may slide even lower with the injuries piling up. If the Pacers fall too far, they may slide in that seven to nine range in the lottery giving them the dream of a potential top-five pick.
I think the Pacers, even with their woes this season, are too talented to drop that far. What this does give the Pacers is a shot at adding a young talented player that they can develop at their pace.
This season could give the Pacers an opportunity to add a lottery-level talent to the roster which they usually don’t have the pleasure of doing too often. This draft is loaded with talent and the Pacers could use another young player to develop and add to their depth and groom into their system. Not many teams that should be a top-five team in their respective conference get an opportunity like this in a year that has been nothing but normal.
I think at this point in the season the Pacers are forced to think about next season and how to improve this team moving forward. This year’s first-round draft pick gives us the opportunity to inject some young talent into the roster. Even outside the top six, there are some interesting prospects that could help the Pacers moving forward.
I’m trying to be an optimist in a year where it’s been hard to be. It’s obvious it’s not the year for the Pacers that we all anticipated it to be. The struggles this team is enduring this year could be a blessing for the Pacers moving forward. One can only hope.