Indiana Pacers: What should we expect from the play-in tournament?

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

The Indiana Pacers are now locked into the play-in tournament after an impressive second-half comeback against the 76ers on Tuesday night. The Pacers held Philadelphia to just 32 points in the second half as they took a late lead and pulled off the upset.

Neither team was at full strength, a theme across the NBA this season and especially for the Pacers. The win moved Indiana into a tie with the Hornets for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference with just four games remaining on the season.

What should the Indiana Pacers expect in the play-in tournament?

Indiana is most likely not going to get back to full strength by the time the play-in arrives on May 18. With Myles Turner and T.J. Warren out, the Pacers will certainly be shorthanded. Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, Aaron Holiday, and Edmond Sumner are all dealing with ailments of their own with Brogdon being a major storyline as the season winds down.

Brogdon has now missed seven straight games with no positive update regarding his health. If he cannot go in the win-or-go-home matchup, the Pacers will probably see an early exit once again. Even if he does return, the depth behind him is quite concerning, especially if Aaron Holiday’s recent injury keeps him off the floor.

The Pacers are fighting for a play-in high seed for a reason: they have not been good this season. The win over Philly was shocking even with Joel Embiid out for the opposition because the Pacers have been dominated by top squads all season long.

When they step on the floor against Washington, Charlotte, or Boston in the play-in, the Pacers will have to play their best ball of the season if they wish to advance. Losing and securing a lottery pick is the easy wish for a team with a minimal history of high draft picks, and I completely agree with the sentiment.

Indiana is much better off with an early exit and that should be expected this season. Given the recent turmoil and rumors regarding the locker room and Nate Bjorkgren, this team seems primed for a retooling, not a rebuild.

A team that trots out Caris LeVert, Oshae Brissett, Justin Holiday, Doug McDermott, and Domantas Sabonis as the starting five is probably not going to win many playoff games. While those guys have had their moments, they simply do not match up with the Russell WestbrookBradley Beal duo in Washington or the Jayson Tatum scoring threat for Boston.

Just because the Pacers have secured a play-in bid, fans should not be bummed about their drat slot. As long as the Pacers do not win two games in a row in that tournament, they will still land in the lottery.

Next. The Sabonis-LeVert pairing is great for the Pacers. dark