What to expect from the Indiana Pacers in their season opener

Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Indiana Pacers tip-off their 2021-22 season on Wednesday night when they travel to Charlotte to meet the Hornets. Indiana and Charlotte rank similarly heading into the season as low-seed playoff hopefuls that can make some noise in the Eastern Conference. This matchup will be a good one to get the season started.

Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon lead the Pacers into a tough first matchup against LaMelo Ball and the up-and-coming Hornets who are sure to make some flashy highlights. Can the Pacers withstand the energy and pull out their first win of 2021-22?

What to expect in the Indiana Pacers’ season opener

Indiana is dealing with plenty of injuries before they even see their first real action of the year but that does not mean they will not have the talent to win this game. Even without T.J. Warren and Caris LeVert, the Pacers should be confident enough in their roster to compete.

Myles Turner looks stronger and more aggressive on both ends of the floor, making for a nice dynamic in the frontcourt with Sabonis. Isaiah Jackson serving as a backup to either of the starting bigs will bring a ton of energy to the second unit.

Rookie Chris Duarte has made a very strong first impression and he could start for the Pacers as they await the return of their two best scorers. Duarte will be an impact player on both ends of the floor and his presence will be massive in his debut.

It is not going to be easy for Indiana on Wednesday. My original prediction, which I stand by, is that they drop their first game of the season and get off to a slow start. Still, this is a good test for a team that needs to prove themselves. We can learn a ton about the Pacers in just one night.

Their rotations will be worth monitoring as there are some questions that need to be answered. Oshae Brissett and Torrey Craig will be a fun battle for playing time on the perimeter until things are sorted out but the two wings can both make an impact defensively. I would like to see them both line up against Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington to get a feel for how talented they are.

Realistically, I think this game comes down to the final minutes with the Pacers struggling to hit some tough shots when it matters. Indiana lacks perimeter scorers for now and that will be tough to overcome this early in the season. Unless Brogdon gets hot from deep, the Pacers will not have enough scoring power to pull out the road win.

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