What is wrong with the Indiana Pacers this season?

Indiana Pacers vs Atlanta Hawks Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers vs Atlanta Hawks Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Expectations for the Indiana Pacers were quite high heading into the 2020-21 NBA season but things have gone horribly up to this point. The team moved on from Nate McMillan as head coach and landed Nate Bjorkgren, a young guy with a lot of potential and excitement.

Bjorkgren was expected to get this team over the hump in the playoffs and prove how talented the team was in a competitive Eastern Conference. Instead, the Pacers have been sluggish all season and are lucky to be in the conversation of the play-in tournament. If not for that, Indiana probably is not making the playoffs this season.

What is wrong with the Indiana Pacers?

Injuries slowed things down after a pretty hot start to the season for the Pacers but as the team has gotten mostly healthy, the results have not returned. Aside from T.J. Warren being out for the season, the Pacers have seen their injuries slow down – at least in terms of serious injuries. At the same time, key players have missed a lot of time over the past few months.

Fourth quarters have been a disaster for Indiana and that was once again a problem in the team’s loss to the Hawks on Sunday afternoon. After battling back from an early deficit, Indiana failed to keep momentum in the final period, allowing Atlanta to pull away in the final moments.

Another thing that will be monitored over the course of the season and into the offseason is the roster construction of this team. They continue to run a two-big lineup with Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis despite every possible trend and analytic pointing to that being a bad move. It’s hard to win with two bigs constantly sharing the floor and Indiana is finding that out.

They lack wing depth and size at the backup four spot which has been a killer at times this season. Jeremy Lamb playing in that role has simply not worked out and that should not be a surprise. He lacks the size and length to be a good interior defender while also being a less-than-stellar perimeter defender to begin with.

Heading into next season, I would expect a lot of changes coming out of this organization if they want to compete. Whether it’s through the draft, trades, or finding a new head coach, there will need to be some big moves this summer. Although, I do not think Bjorkgren is on the hot seat given this is his first season with the team and does not have his “own” roster.

The summer will tell us a lot about the state of the Pacers and how high their expectations are moving forward.

Next. Comparing Turner and Sabonis. dark