Indiana Pacers: The future depends on their three leading scorers

Caris LeVert of the Indiana Pacers - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Caris LeVert of the Indiana Pacers - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

58 games in, 14 remaining in a shortened 72 game NBA regular season, and the Indiana Pacers sit at ninth in the eastern conference with a ho-hum record of 27-31. The team hasn’t finished lower than seventh in the conference since Roy Hibbert, David West, George Hill, and seven-time all-star Paul George were battling Lebron James‘ Miami Heat during their dynastic four-year run.

Indiana’s three leading scorers this season could lay the groundwork towards a return to that elite status.

The Indiana Pacers need to trust their leading scorers

The team’s current state is nowhere near those Pacer teams, but Indiana’s three leading scorers should give coach Nate Bjorkgren a core to build around in the midst of a frustrating season, to say the least. To begin 2021, general manager Chad Buchanan and the front office traded away beloved Indiana icon Victor Oladipo after obtaining him through a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder four years ago.

For three seasons, Oladipo poured his heart and soul into a place he was familiar with, going back to when he displayed his athleticism on the hardwood of Assembly Hall for the Indiana Hoosiers. It’s time for us Pacer fans to turn the page, though, and take a look at what a current nucleus of three potential stars could mean for Bankers Life Fieldhouse going forward.

Indiana’s three leading scorers are all under 30 years old, consisting of two-time all-star forward Domantas Sabonis and the starting backcourt of Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert acquired via the trade sent Oladipo to Houston. Sabonis has been a steady rock for the team averaging a double-double, with just over 19 points, 11 rebounds a game while tied for second on the team in assists with six a night this season.

More Pacer all-star appearances could be on the horizon as we look at what the backcourt of Brogdon and LeVert has brought to Bjorkgren’s offense. Brogdon has led the team in scoring all season, putting up just over 21 points, six assists a night while shooting nearly 40 percent on triples. He arguably is the best starting point guard Indiana has seen since Mark Jackson, with the potential of being even better as we see how his career plays out here going forward.

LeVert, while he has a long way to go to be considered one of, if not the best, two-guard to ever play for Indiana due to the legacy of number 31, whose jersey hangs in the rafters, he still has an opportunity to be a great number one option. LeVert is putting up 18.5 points, a touch under 2 steals a night, while shooting over 80 percent from the foul line. He’s been a seamless replacement for Oladipo with the ability to provide similar production, being a consistent two-way player on a nightly basis.

Looking at Indiana’s three leading scorers, where they are in their careers, and how they all are seemingly just getting started in the 317, as a fan, there’s much to be excited about for the future of Pacers basketball. The trio of Sabonis, Brogdon, and LeVert can certainly get the franchise back to competing for championships, which begins with getting out of the first round, something the team hasn’t done since 2013-2014.

This season has been an uneventful one, and the playoffs, if Indiana is fortunate enough to make it, might not bear much fruit due to injuries and inconsistent play. Aside from that, as we look ahead to next season with the return of forward T.J. Warren along with defensive anchor Myles Turner to complement Indiana’s three leading scorers of Sabonis, Brogdon, and LeVert, a return to being a top tier eastern conference power might not be that far away.

Next. Pacers sign Amida Brimah. dark