Indiana Pacers: Are the playoffs worth it after recent injuries?

Indiana Pacers - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The injury bug has been cruel to the Indiana Pacers for the last several years and it bit big once again on Monday as they lost Myles Turner for what looks like the season. Not only did they lose Turner, but Domantas Sabonis and Jeremy Lamb both missed Monday’s game with injuries.

During the game, Goga Bitadze left the game with a sprained ankle, and Doug McDermott looked to be dealing with some pain in his first game back from injury. Stack all of that on top of already not having T.J. Warren for the majority of the year, this has been a lost season for the Indiana Pacers.

Are the playoffs even worth it for the Indiana Pacers?

This is nothing new to Indiana. Two years ago, the team lost Victor Oladipo for the majority of the season, and last season the team lost Domantas Sabonis for the bubble. The difference in those years however is that the Pacers were still a competitive team in the Eastern Conference. The team was firmly in the playoffs as the fifth seed in 2019 and the fourth seed in 2020.

That is not the case this year as the Pacers sit at ninth in the Eastern Conference with a 26-31 record. Realistically, the best the Pacers could finish this year is seventh or eighth in the conference, which is not worth it because they would have to face the 76ers, Nets, or Bucks, all teams that would likely sweep the Pacers out of the playoffs for the third year in a row.

The last time the Pacers missed the playoffs was in 2015 but it might be time for them to miss it again, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Rather than making the playoffs, the Pacers could find themselves in the draft lottery in what looks to be a loaded draft class.

Depending on how the rest of the season goes, the Pacers could increase their lottery odds, where the top five prospects are all seen as potential franchise players.  It would be wise of the Pacers to focus on getting their guys fully healthy, rather than pushing to sneak into the playoffs.

This season has been an injury-ridden, crazy season with a new head coach who has never had a full roster to utilize. This franchise is in desperate need of a franchise-altering player and this draft could produce many, so it may be more valuable to find yourself in the draft lottery rather than a bottom seed in the playoffs.

Even if they cannot luck out into a top-five pick, this draft still has lots of talent, and the Pacers would have the opportunity to pick in the lottery, something they have not done since they drafted Myles Turner in 2015.

Next. Injuries continue to pile up for the Pacers. dark