Indiana Pacers: What the team can learn from the Oklahoma City Thunder’s rebuild

Kevin Pritchard - (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Kevin Pritchard - (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Domantas Sabonis – Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Domantas Sabonis – Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Thunder’s shift in direction exposes the Indiana Pacers’ troubling tendency

In the NBA, consistency is only validated with championship pedigree, as seen in the Spurs’ legendary run of 22 straight playoff appearances which included 5 championships. Sure, the Pacers have been a perennial playoff player, but it does not have a title to back up the elongation of a reliable, yet stale formula.

The Navy and Gold have talented, star-level players starting in all positions when healthy, but the stars rarely align perfectly in the NBA. Brogdon, LeVert, Warren, Sabonis and Turner form a potent squad in theory, but unless it is out there and yielding wonderful results, then the prospect may eventually be for naught.

The art of rebuilding is understandably a craft that merits avoidance in a competitive league, but it is an inevitable reality for teams with great crops, but without championship banners hanging in their rafters. Oklahoma City is the best example, and with their window to contention clearly inexistent, their front office has been creative in acquiring draft assets in abundance while developing in-house talents like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and outsourcing from places where others do not even look, as in Luguentz Dort and Darius Bazley.

The Indiana Pacers front office should never settle for a middling goal of simply being an honorary postseason participant. Fortunately, they do not. But the hesitance that can be seen from the team’s tendency of avoiding the luxury tax and never showing even an ounce of will for a rebuild despite consecutive first-round exits as the rest of the league make drastic moves to inch them towards contention does not paint a picture of lofty goals in stone.

Certainly, there is a wide difference between merely being in the middle of the pack and being at the top. However, the difference between being at the bottom and the middle is less noticeable. And for the Indiana Pacers to reopen a window for contention, the organization should make more boisterous measures to clear up the alleyway.

Unfortunately, no one will be waiting for them. Time is ticking, and the need for answers loom bigger as another title-less season nears its end.

Next. How the Indiana Pacers 50-pieced the Oklahoma City Thunder. dark