Indiana Pacers: 5 things atop the Christmas wish list this year

Chris Duarte - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Duarte - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Deck the halls and ring the bells. Toe to toe with the Christmas spirit, the Indiana Pacers are among the teams with lengthy wish lists, leaving a lot to be desired with their play this season as they currently sit 13th in the Eastern Conference with a 14-19 record, comfortably outside the playoff picture.

Injuries have once again hindered the Pacers this season, but there’s no question that their uninspiring play has been the main culprit for their bland start to the campaign. While the numbers show that they are a better team than what their record suggests, their utter lack of an identity and the front office’s wavering commitment on a resolute direction has been frustrating, leaving Indiana with only a few bright spots to beam with at the holiday point.

With the Pacers understandably, justifiably, and rightfully shelved for the Christmas festivities, we take a look on five things that should be atop the team’s wish list this year, starting off with…

Indiana Pacers, TJ Warren
Indiana Pacers, TJ Warren (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /

Indiana Pacers Christmas wish list no. 5: More clarity on the TJ Warren front

With the 2021-22 NBA season inching closer to its halfway mark, forward TJ Warren has yet to make an appearance for the Blue and Gold as he continues rehabbing his injured left foot that prompted him to miss almost the entirety of last season.

As the Indiana Pacers continue to stumble in the standings, getting a bit more clarity on the status of TJ Warren should stabilize expectations around the team. They are clearly worse without the versatile scorer, as Warren, when healthy, gives the team an uber-efficient scoring option who can score from anywhere and defend at an adequate level.

The vigilance over his health, particularly in a contract year, is understandable, but the Pacers will be hard-pressed to properly evaluate this team’s ultimate ceiling without him playing, caging the team into clinging to mere hypotheticals to make apt personnel decisions—if they truly go that route.