Coming into the season, fans of the Indiana Pacers didn’t have high hopes associated with the 22-23 season, at least in the short term. Yes, we had promising young players and a franchise cornerstone in Tyrese Haliburton, but many fans’ eyes were on the three first-round picks next offseason as well as the draft capital we could acquire from veterans like Buddy Hield and Myles Turner.
However, NBA.com, in their newest Power Rankings, listed the Indiana Pacers as number 13. I think many fans of both the Pacers as well as the NBA at large would have scoffed at that ranking just a few weeks ago.
Yet the month of November may be showing that the Indiana Pacers are a much better team than we originally projected. In the month of November, the Pacers are 3-1, with the only loss being a narrow loss to the Denver Nuggets. And even in that game, the Pacers had a chance at a three at the end to tie it up.
The month of November may be showing that the Indiana Pacers are a much better team than we originally projected.
Tyrese Haliburton is playing out of his mind with 124 total assists (ranks 1st in NBA), 10.3 assists per game (ranks 1st in NBA), and 22 steals (ranks 8th in NBA), to go along with almost 21 points per game. Even his advanced stats are looking great ranking 8th inoffensive plus/minus and 10th in win shares. He quickly looks like he has the ceiling of a generational-type point guard.
Bennedict Mathurin has been something truly special. As a rookie to be averaging nearly 20 points with an effective field goal percentage of 56% is an incredible start. He will certainly be in the conversation for rookie of the year at the end of the season and would be the obvious choice if Paolo Banchero in Orlando wasn’t having a special season himself.
The upcoming schedule is a weaker one, with games Charlotte, Houston, Orlando twice, Minnesota, and Brooklyn, there is a chance that the Pacers find themselves at 12-6 or 11-7 in the coming weeks. If that happens, don’t be surprised when the national media begins to take notice as the Pacers become a growing threat in the east.
And if we aren’t as good as we look early this season? Well, we have three first-round picks next year, a whole lot of cap space, and a talented young core that is just now learning to win games.