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, Rick Carlisle
Indiana Pacers, Rick Carlisle – Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

Do the Indiana Pacers’ intangibles hoist them above the Chicago Bulls?

Indiana Pacers

Injuries and health concerns will always be a cloud over the Indiana Pacers’ ability to crack the top of the Eastern Conference. With multiple key players already sidelined to begin the year, the trek to reclaim relevancy in the league will be harder at the early juncture of the regular season.

Perhaps the bright side to this is the arrival of Rick Carlisle, a championship coach with a proven system, respected voice and a knack for shifting the tide of the game with his celebrated in-game judgments. After a peculiar season with Nate Bjorkgren, he should be a welcome change of professionalism, experience and most importantly, both on and off-court dynamics.

It’s difficult to count this as an advantage or a deflating barometer, but the Pacers have had impressive regular season runs save for last season in recent years. Perhaps a healthier squad and another decorated coach can push them back in that direction, or possibly more, given their hunger for success after last season’s giant intermission after missing the playoffs. Team chemistry should also be better, especially with them bringing back most of the core guys.

Chicago Bulls

While Billy Donovan is far from the accomplished figure that his counterpart is, there’s no denying that he has been a positive overseer to the Chicago Bulls program’ for the past couple of years. With a more star-studded team this time, he will have a more loaded canvass to work on.

Due to their guard-heavy roster, defense will be a big question mark for the Bulls, but it must be noted that they improved on defense last season. While they are missing key players to that end from last season (Thad Young), the system in place is sustainable and should cater well to their more athletic and bouncier roster.

It also serves Chicago well that their club is headed by high-character guys, players who have proven to be unselfish enough to give up some of their numbers for the betterment of the team. DeRozan has already been that with the Spurs and Vooch has opened up his game more to better coexist with LaVine. Despite lacking on the continuity front, team chemistry shouldn’t be an issue.


With the current state of affairs between both teams, injuries and all, I’d say that the Chicago Bulls are better than the Indiana Pacers to begin the 2021-22 NBA season. Under the backing of a strong preseason, the Bulls have shown why they are more than just a fun, intriguing team.

However, I’m absolutely not closing the window on the Pacers ultimately ending up as the better team. IF healthy, I do believe that the Blue and Gold can surprise a lot of people next season, much like how they caught a lot of opponents who underestimated them off-guard in recent years (save for last season).

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