Should the Pacers prefer the Hornets or the Wizards in the play-in round?

Indiana Pacers - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets
Indiana Pacers v Charlotte Hornets – Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

Pacers-Hornets vs Pacers-Wizards: Intangibles

As we all know, while the numbers paint a concrete picture, they don’t tell the whole story. This is where the intangibles factor in. In a postseason-like atmosphere like the play-in tournament where the stakes are higher, the winner will be the one who dictates the game in facets that transcend stats.

One of the most overlooked aspects in this case is experience. The Pacers have ample playoffs experience, but they have never made it past the second round, save for Malcolm Brogdon. Coach Nate Bjorkgren is a rookie, but he has championship pedigree in his days as an assistant for the Toronto Raptors.

The Hornets’ circuit of postseason experience runs through Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier. The rest of the roster have marginal playoffs familiarity. Ironically, it is coach James Borrego who has an abundance of it, albeit in a lesser role in his tenure with the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant under Gregg Popovich.

On the other hand, the Wizards are easily the most playoff-tested between the three, with Westbrook even reaching the NBA Finals once with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Beal’s postseason resume extends from his early days with the team back when they had the likes of John Wall, Nene, and Marcin Gortat. Coach Scott Brooks is similarly accustomed to the playoffs.

Aside from playoff experience, there is also the pride factor. The Wizards are led by superstars who are well-furnished with accolades of their own and can singlehandedly win them playoff games. And speaking of accolades, Russ is a former MVP. That holds a lot of weight despite the amount of people who try to downplay it.

Conversely, the Hornets are just beginning to write their own story. They are quite the pleasant storyline this season, but no one’s crying in Charlotte with their bright future and better seasons still ahead of them.

VERDICT: Charlotte

The Pacers should hope to draw the Hornets in the play-in tournament

Ultimately, the numbers and the intangibles elicit a common motif. The Charlotte Hornets, with their relatively meager stats and youth, will give the Indiana Pacers a better shot at winning in the play-in tournament compared to the Washington Wizards.

Nevertheless, even if the Pacers indeed draw the Hornets, the burden will be on them if they want to extend their disappointing campaign and try to die a noble death given the unlikelihood of them making postseason noise.

Go Pacers!

Next. A trade idea to acquire a star playmaker for Malcolm Brogdon. dark