Basketball as the Lifeblood of Indiana Dreamers: Why You Should Care About This Indiana Pacers Team

Bennedict Mathurin - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Bennedict Mathurin - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

After an exciting 125-113 victory over the Charlotte Hornets last night, the Indiana Pacers are above .500 again- a mark they reached for the first time in 21 months. Through 13 games, this team is overachieving, and thus, generating genuine interest and excitement from many Pacers fans.

But why does this excitement exist now for a team with such low expectations, when it didn’t a year ago for a team that was supposed to compete for a home-court playoff advantage? Why should you care right now about a Pacers team seemingly more interested in incubating young talent for the future than winning in the present?

Indiana Pacers fans have something exciting to look forward to for years to come

Basketball has been the impassioned fascination of Indiana dreamers for generations. There’s something unique about the simple barbarism of fighting five brutes alongside four of your closest companions to carefully place a rock in a bucket suspended 10 feet above your toes that ignite the imaginations of school-kid daydreamers and well-worn combine operators alike.

It’s something about the shrill cry of ecstasy from a new sneaker’s first taste of Hoosier hardwood. It’s something in the beat, beat, beat of a bouncing ball in an empty gym pulsing through our veins. It’s a middle-schooler in a half-full student section spitting “bad call” at the referee through a mouthful of candy during the JV game.

It’s coming home from your first-ever Pacers game and practicing between-the-legs dribble moves with the mini-ball you caught during the third quarter because the driveway is covered in the snow your siblings wouldn’t help you shovel. It’s toasting “ball don’t lie” before you knock back a cold one with your grandad because the Pistons missed the free throws they didn’t deserve.

It’s Reggie scoring 8 points in 9 seconds. It’s PG putting Birdman on a poster. It’s Vic claiming Indy as his own with a game-winning bullseye to beat the Spurs.

8 Points, 9 Seconds
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Our Indiana imaginations are riddled with epic dunks, behind-the-back assists, and half-court buzzer-beaters. We dream of sharing with one another in the exaltation of a playoff run, maybe even a championship. We see visions of international superstars in the Blue and Gold. Pacers fans in 2022 have so many avenues toward the realization of their basketball fandom dreams.

This Pacers team, unlike the last few years of low-ceiling/high-floor teams, rewards loyal fans with the ever-present potential for nightly high-scoring affairs—the team, according to, is second in pace, third in fast break point per game, seventh in offensive rating, and first in charming intrasquad total dunks competitions.

Tyrese Haliburton is a legitimate All-Star contender, 1st in the league in assists per game (10.4), and averaging north of 20 points per game. Bennedict Mathurin currently has the 2nd best odds to win the Rookie of the Year award and boasts historic scoring numbers amongst rookies, all-time.

This team might also reward loyal fans with the potential for future improvement. The Pacers currently have the sixth-worst defensive rating in the league and turnover percentage. With a young, growing team, those numbers can, hopefully, only improve. If they don’t, there’s a certain lanky Frenchman who’d look très buea in the Blue and Gold.

Why care about the 2022-23 Indiana Pacers? Because whether your reverie involves ping-pong balls and generational prospects, or unexpected playoff runs, we’re dreamers, and this Pacers team is giving us plenty of fuel for our rampant imaginations.

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