Indiana Pacers: A comparative look against the new-look Chicago Bulls

Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls
Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls – Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

How do the Indiana Pacers’ starters measure up against the Chicago Bulls’?

Starters (IND): Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, TJ Warren, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner

When healthy, the Indiana Pacers’ starting five is a fearsome opening group. While this five-man unit has yet to register a single minute on the hardwood, it’s not difficult to reason out why this quintet could easily be among the league’s most potent on both ends, at least in theory.

Although the Blue and Gold trots out a traditional, throwback opening group, it is done willfully. With All-Star Domantas Sabonis and best shot blocker Myles Turner on the frontcourt, all-around guard Malcolm Brogdon as the floor general and electric scorers Caris LeVert and TJ Warren on the wings, the Pacers, again if healthy, will deploy a highly versatile starting five that can play different styles while oozing both offensive and defensive potential.

The only caveat with this unit, aside from health, is how strong of a foundation it has, given its utmost lack of on-court chemistry, in the face of persistent mismatches in today’s more common small-ball configurations. Can they assert their style or are they the ones who will be forced to adjust on the fly?

Starters (CHI): Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Williams, Nikola Vucevic

As an impressive follow-up to their marquee move for Nikola Vucevic last season, the Chicago Bulls managed to become one of the offseason’s major winners by adding four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball to the Zach LaVine-led club. On paper alone, this starting unit should give opposing teams a lot on their plate to handle, especially on defense.

In the presence of three ball-dominant scorers, questions were raised about how their core can coexist seamlessly. The response? A sterling preseason record, with the Bulls playing impressive basketball on both ends. DeRozan has proven that his passing boost from San Antonio can augment both LaVine and Vucevic, while Ball has grown into a legitimate off-ball threat. Their prowess as a defensive unit will still be barked on in the regular season, but many signs indicate to them figuring it out.

The X-factor here would be Patrick Williams, the sophomore forward who could be the gel that binds this unit with his improving perimeter prowess, growing scoring profile and impressive defense.

Advantage: Chicago