Why the Indiana Pacers should not worry much about losses next season

Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Indiana Pacers are undoubtedly in better form this time around than in the previous season, where they finished with the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference. However, despite additions through the draft and their ample cap space in free agency, faring any better next season record-wise is not a guarantee.

Still, in the middle of an extraordinarily rare rebuild, the team should not worry much about potentially racking up losses in the following campaign. After all, another golden opportunity could present itself for the Bleu and Gold a year from now.

Losing shouldn’t scare the Indiana Pacers much next season

Just to get it out of the way, the Indiana Pacers will not win a championship next season. While the team can probably make a run at the play-in tournament, the playoffs are a tall order for this particular bunch, even with the high-upside Tyrese Haliburton leading the pack.

With the East now as strong as ever, with a cluster of bona fide championship contenders and postseason threats in the fold, the Pacers could develop and improve as a team without their win-loss card reflecting just that. But that’s plenty fine, as they will actually be incentivized even if they bottom out once more.

The reason? The 2023 NBA Draft pool is widely believed to be one of, if not the best in recent years. Led by global phenom Victor Wembanyama, who is touted as one of the best basketball prospects ever, the bidding war for lottery positioning in 2023 should be a wild one.

Other elite prospects like Scooty Henderson, who has been igniting the G-League, and Overtime’s OTE League standouts, twins Amen and Ausar Thompson, round out the uppermost tier. Other notables include Arkansas’ Nick Smith Jr., Villanova’s Cam Whitmore, and Texas’ Dillon Mitchell.

Fortunately for the Pacers, there should be more teams that will try to be competitive and only a few that project to focus on rebuilding. Aside from Indiana, only Detroit, Orlando, Houston, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio (if a Dejounte Murray trade transpires) look like locks to miss the postseason outright, and the first four clubs could easily flirt with winning more after their eventful draft results.

Ultimately, while not ideal, the Indiana Pacers have to be more patient next season. While doing so could come with a lot of punches to the gut, with a bit of luck, it should be all worth it a year from now.

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