The Indiana Pacers may not be threat for the most part next season, but that doesn’t mean that the team will be exempted from possible bagging some awards. In fact, you could make a convincing argument that one Pacer should be considered as a favorite for a major plum.
Tyrese Haliburton, the franchise’s new leader of the pack, will be at the crux of the scoring attack. And with Malcolm Brogdon finally off the books, the young floor general will now take the full reigns of a Pacers team designed to develop in the upcoming season, paving the way for him to log his best season so far.
Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton should be the early favorite for Most Improved Player
In 26 games with Indiana last season, Haliburton registered 17.5 points and 9.6 assists per game on an astounding 50.2 percent shooting overall, including a 41.6 percent clip on triples, which topped the team. That is undoubtedly a small sample size, and while his efficiency may take a hit over a bigger serving of outings, his projected role as the primary option on both scoring and facilitating should guarantee even better numbers in the following campaign.
Context further amplifies his case — considering the Pacers’ new uptempo, point guard-reliant attack, Haliburton could cement himself as a perennial 20-10 player in the league. His 20.3 percent usage rate, which is surprisingly lower than eight players who regularly played for Indiana last season, should balloon into the high 20s. All of those translate into a more spreadeagled span of control for the 22 year-old.
Anthony Edwards, RJ Barrett, Jalen Brunson, Keldon Johnson, or any of the incoming sophomores could pose a threat in the Most Improved Player sweepstakes, but Tyrese Haliburton has a more compelling case as things currently stand given his alpha role next season.
Hence, while Indiana Pacers fans may not be too pleased with how the team could fare next season in the wins department, they should at least be able to witness Tyrese Haliburton blossom into one of the best young talents in the league.