3 bold takeaways from the Pacers’ first 5 games of the season

Bennedict Mathurin - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Bennedict Mathurin - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Indiana Pacers
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3. Defense will not be a strength of the Pacers anytime soon

Through five games, the Indiana Pacers are currently tied for third-worst in defensive rating among all 30 teams. And the two (or three) teams beneath them, the Boston Celtics, the Brooklyn Nets, and the Memphis Grizzlies, should at least improve in the department as bona fide playoff teams.

Not having Myles Turner, their defensive centerpiece, for four of their first five contests definitely flicked the Pacers off the table right from the get-go in this regard, but pinning the team’s struggles on defense solely on his absence is a gross underplay. If anything, Indiana is simply too flawed personnel-wise to have a realistic shot at being an above-average point-preventing unit anytime soon.

The Pacers’ lack of a truly imposing defensive anchor gives off the notion that the team is outmatched in the paint on a nightly basis, but they are actually surprisingly good at preventing points in the paint, currently ranked third in the league so far. It is definitely a step in the right direction, but when you’re conversely among the worst in guarding the three-point line (fifth-worst), you will certainly be on deck for a nightmarish year on D.

Still, their good ranking on defending the paint may have a flukish element. After all, among all the teams they have played, only Philadelphia has a dominant scoring big man (not counting a declining, spread big in Vucevic). Needless to say, the Pacers’ front office has a tall task ahead of them in constructing a roster that is better equipped to defend the ever-improving offenses in the league.

Oh, and get Dan Burke back at all costs, will ya?

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