Indiana Pacers: Recent wins show how hard it is to tank

Edmond Sumner, Indiana Pacers - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Edmond Sumner, Indiana Pacers - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

There is a large group of Indiana Pacers fans that hope the team tanks the rest of the season in hopes of a high draft pick, which is certainly understandable. The Pacers have not had a chance at a superstar in the draft in some time and this year’s class is loaded with talent at the top. Factor in Indiana’s needs on the perimeter and you have a perfect position to fill at the top of this draft.

Even with a number of injuries derailing the roster and forcing a handful of unexpected players to step up, the Pacers have won enough games to prove how difficult it is to actively tank. They have found ways to win against other bottom-tier opponents, teams that are actually in a position to tank this season away.

Tanking is too difficult for this year’s Indiana Pacers

After losing to other playoff-caliber teams over the past few weeks, the Pacers have shown that they are still a step above the basement teams in the NBA. Without Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, and T.J. Warren in the lineup, the Pacers were still talented enough to knock off the Thunder and Pistons in consecutive games.

Caris LeVert and Malcolm Brogdon have stepped up offensively when needed and were crucial in Saturday’s win over Detroit. Both guys have shown the ability to score timely buckets and lead the offense, albeit inconsistently. But still, having two backcourt players of that level makes it more than difficult to just lose easier matchups.

The sudden rise of Oshae Brissett has been an absolute joy to watch and that sort of move is typically one you will see from those tanking teams. They will not be afraid to throw young guys with little experience out there in hopes of striking gold and having a solid piece to work with. For the Pacers, he joined Edmond Sumner as another longshot who made an immediate impact.

Those two have been incredible for Indiana this season, though Brissett’s impact has been much shorter. With those two likely heading back to the bench next season when the roster is healthy, the Pacers will have a very nice second unit that can keep them in games.

We have seen a group of unexpected starters and high-minute players carry this team to wins over some of the worst teams in the NBA this season, once again proving just how difficult – and unlikely – tanking is for a team with talent. No, this team does not have a superstar or championship-level talent but they are also not bad enough to lose night in and night out.

As much as I would love the Pacers to land a star in this draft, it’s going to be hard to do it without a lot of luck in the upcoming lottery. For now, the Pacers are stuck in the middle of the NBA.

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