Expectations of the Indiana Pacers’ starting five this season

Indiana Pacers - Credit: Carmen Mandato/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers - Credit: Carmen Mandato/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports /

Setting Expectations for the Indiana Pacers for the 2021-22 Season

The 2021-22 NBA season is quickly approaching for the Indiana Pacers. Training camp begins September 28th and the first NBA game is October 19th. As an Indiana Pacers fan, it’s time to garner up all the optimism and hope we can for our beloved Blue and Gold. So what are some positive and realistic expectations for the Pacers’ starters this season?

Malcolm Brogdon

The five-year vet scored his career-high in points and shot his career-best FG% while maintaining his average 3PT%. Most would tell you he will take a dip back to career averages. But from the outside perspective, he appears to be a very intelligent basketball player and to be a hard worker. Don’t be surprised if you see him very close to last year’s numbers.

I hope to see a lot more catch and shoot threes from Brogdon, where he proved to be efficient and deadly last season. In order to do that, I hope to see the ball out of his hands more and his overall usage decrease. We also cannot fail to mention his most significant impact CAN be on the defensive side of the ball as he will often be guarding the other team’s best offensive players.

I expect another very good year from Malcolm Brogdon.

Caris Levert

Levert split last season with the Nets and the Pacers. Soley looking at the numbers and not taking into account what he went through in the middle of the season would be dishonest. Rather, let’s look at the end of the season with the eye test.

Caris LeVert, when healthy, is undoubtedly a special player. He’s the best individual shot creator on the team for himself and I would love to see him improve setting up open looks for his teammates. I would argue that more than any other player on this roster, he has the potential to become a bonafide star.

There is only one other player on the roster who is capable of scoring at a high level like LeVert and that is T.J. Warren. And considering LeVert has had a completely healthy off-season with the offensive coaching of Rick Carlisle, I fully expect LeVert to make the jump into the next tier. This season will be a career year that becomes the new baseline for Caris LeVert.

T.J. Warren

Let’s assume T.J. Warren is healthy for the start of the season. If he misses extended periods of the season, then I expect Caris LeVert to soak up some of that volume. However, a healthy Warren is key to the Pacers success this year. But the question is, can he really improve?

We all want to see the 2020 NBA Bubble version of TJ Warren, but is that realistic? Looking at statistics from the past few years, Warren has hung around 19 PPG with an increased 3PT%. I don’t foresee a leap in the overall statistics, but “bubble-Warren” has brought him attention so his impact could very well be in the things we don’t see in the stat sheet.

We should still expect him to explode on any given night and my guess (if healthy) is a slight uptick in overall numbers due to usage. However, it may not be as extreme as some would hope.

Honestly, I just want to see this man healthy.

Domantas Sabonis

Domantas Sabonis has improved statistically each year since he has been in the league. The question we honestly have to ask is where is his ceiling? I would personally argue it’s lower than most Pacers fans would like to admit. However, there are holes in his game that he could work on to increase his capacity.

I want to be optimistic here and believe that he will improve as a player overall, not just statistically. To do that he has to be a more lethal 3PT threat, a better defender on the wing and the post, and find a way to use his right hand in the post on offense.

My prediction, and hope, is that Sabonis looks like a more well-rounded threat on the court this season but takes a slight dip in statistical averages because of a lower usage this season.

Myles Turner

Myles Turner is an enigma. He has all the traits, all the giftings, and even the work ethic (or so it appears) to be a perennial player in the league. For some reason, his overall production has never quite matched his potential. BUT, last year Myles showed some serious improvement on offense. He showed an improved handle and flashes of aggressiveness on the offensive end that could prime him to breakout in 2021.

Granted, that is not new. There have always been flashes but the dots never seem to connect. But remember, Myles Turner is only 25 years old. He has not even entered what most would consider the prime years of his career.

And considering last year he averaged 3.4 blocks a game, that is scary good. The organization and fanbase need to pump the brakes on trading Myles Turner. He still has a crazy high ceiling and I’m going to predict another monster year on the defensive side of the ball. I’m stepping out on a limb to say Turner will have his best offensive year yet.

Next. The Pacers need to help Myles Turner. dark