The Indiana Pacers can be an elite offensive team in 2021-22

Indiana Pacers, Domantas Sabonis - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, Domantas Sabonis - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Indiana Pacers, despite what their moniker suggests, aren’t necessarily known for pacing the league and scoring in blitzkrieg fashion. Despite tallying relatively successful campaigns in recent years, the team’s reputation among fans and non-fans alike is surely devoid of acclaim about their offense, which peaks at above-average and never among the best.

In the 2021-22 season, however, the Pacers have a golden opportunity to flip the script. After years of heavy emphasis on defense at the expense of an outlier offense, the Blue and Gold could very well end up being one of the association’s most dangerous offensive squads.

Despite stumbling in embarrassing fashion last season, one-and-done head coach Nate Bjorkgren managed to improve Indiana’s previously stale offense. Following two seasons of sporting a below-average offensive rating, the team made strides last season as a scoring unit cracking the upper-half in that department. Despite falling victim to a Russian roulette of injuries, the Pacers also ranked sixth in points per game.

The Indiana Pacers can boast an elite offense in the upcoming season

While Bjorkgren clearly failed to gain much traction with the team in its totality, there’s no arguing that he created a blueprint for the offense which the Pacers can utilize next season despite a coaching change. You can only wonder how much more juice coach Rick Carlisle can extract out of Indiana’s much-fortified scoring profile.

First off, the team’s pace took a huge leap last season. While it’s not a bold hallmark of an elite offense, bumping up the pace did wonders for Indy. Not only did their fourth-ranked pace culminated in the Pacers registering their highest scoring average in franchise history, but it also paved the way for the team to fully commit to ball movement, as the Blue and Gold managed to rank second in assists per game with a 27.4 average.

Outside the Bjorkgren influence, coach Carlisle’s read and react offense predicated on five-out spacing and heavy three-point shooting should amplify the offense even more, especially with the team still hesitant at times on pulling the trigger on the perimeter. Combine that with his expertise at handling playmakers, and you could be looking at a more disciplined, yet flexible scoring attack in the looming season.

At full strength, the Indiana Pacers also boast one of the most dangerous starting units in the league, with four capable 20-point scorers manning the opening group. All-Star Domantas Sabonis is a nightly triple-double threat whose offensive repertoire seems ready to embrace a willful three-point shot. Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert are three-level scorers who can easily outmuscle their counterparts with their skill and strength. TJ Warren is the team’s best isolation scorer whose efficiency on the floor is matched only by a few.

The second-unit is no slouch either, with TJ McConnell leading the way. The bench unit’s motion offense should remain fluid and cohesive, now aided by rookie Chris Duarte and the athletic Isaiah Jackson. Three-and-D adepts Justin Holiday and Torrey Craig similarly equips the Pacers with a lot of shapeshifting ability.

Overall, the Indiana Pacers absolutely have the makings to be an elite offensive team in the 2021-22 season. If they can maximize their potential as a scoring club, then they will certainly have a better chance to not only lurk behind their flashy opponents, but also claim some of the spotlight for their own as a much better team.

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