Indiana Pacers continue to look talented, but young, against Raptors

Bennedict Mathurin, Scottie Barnes (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Bennedict Mathurin, Scottie Barnes (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

As we continue through this season, the Indiana Pacers find themselves caught between two worlds. On one side, there is a sense that this team is extremely talented. On the other, there is the knowledge that this team is incredibly young and has quite a bit of growing to do before they can compete at the highest level in the NBA.

On Saturday night, the Pacers defeated the VanVleet-less Toronto Raptors, in what might have been one of the most convincing wins of the season yet. Ben Mathurin and especially Tyrese Haliburton were both having off-nights getting the ball in the basket for the most part. Yet, Haliburton was able to impact and control the offense with 15 assists. Currently 1st in the league in total assists, Haliburton looks like a bona fide star.

Others on the team had good nights too, such as Buddy Hield continuing his hot shooting streak (22 points) and Isaiah Jackson andAaron Nesmith both looking like solid rotational players. Inarguably, there is a lot to like about the current construction of the Pacers roster.

Yet there is a sense that this is only a glimpse of what this team could become. Isaiah Jackson looks like a walking alley-oop but struggles with foul trouble. Duarte looks like the 3-and-D wing the Pacers have needed for years, but can’t seem to stay healthy. And the entire team looks faster than the great-show-on-turf St. Louis Rams but seems to struggle with turnovers.

There is likely so much untapped potential left on the Indiana Pacers roster

There is a growing sense around Indy that perhaps the team should keep both of their veteran stars Myles Turner and Buddy Hield, who have been surrounded by trade rumors all year. These two players constitute a significant portion of the Indiana Pacers’ offense. With them on board, the Pacers could certainly collect enough wins to make the playoffs.

However, that may be trading the long-term goals for short-term gains, given that it is still not likely, even with their current ceiling, that they could contend for a championship. Looking ahead to next year’s generational draft may be the prudent thing to do to maximize the long-term potential of this young core.

What does this mean? As a Pacers fan, I have lived my life with my eyes on the scoreboard, hopeful for the next win. This season? I’m going to sit back and enjoy the games rather than focus on the results. This young team is a blast to watch.

Next. One trade that may be too good for the Pacers to pass up. dark