The Indiana Pacers are playing too well for their own good

Tyrese Halburton - Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Tyrese Halburton - Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports /

The Indiana Pacers once again won last Wednesday night, beating the Hornets 125-113 after Charlotte had a furious comeback. Despite that comeback, the Pacers showed poise down the stretch to win the game. They looked like a veteran team in closing that game out.

Now, the Pacers have a winning record for the first time this season. They currently sit sixth in the standings with a 7-6 record. Normally, I would say that’s a good thing! The Pacers are playing above expectations and looking like a team that could make the playoffs!

But this is not a normal year. There is a massive prize at the end of the year for one lucky, terrible team. Victor Wenbanyama is that prize and he is a once-in-a-generation type of player. Any team that gets him would instantly have a foundational piece that can change the trajectory of their franchise.

The Indiana Pacers need to be worse in order to achieve their long-term goals.

In order for the Pacers to get where they want to go, which is winning a championship, they need to stop playing so well. The Pacers are too good for their own good. They have to start selling off some pieces to get worse because this is a draft that is worth doing so for.

Even if the Pacers don’t win the lottery (don’t hold your breath, Indiana has never had the number one pick since joining the NBA), this is supposed to be the strongest draft in 20 years. They can still get a really good player to pair up with the young guys they already have.

Tyrese Haliburton is going to be an All-Star this year. Bennedict Mathurin is on a trajectory to win the Rookie of the Year. Those are two guys to build around. Selling off Myles Turner and Buddy Hield is the best thing to do for the long-term goals of the organization.

If they keep both of those guys, this team might be good enough to get a 7 or 8-seed this year. Even if they do win a play-in game, they certainly aren’t good enough to win a first-round series over any of the top teams in the East. Do we really need another pointless run to the playoffs where the draft capital is worse?

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I love how this team is playing and any other year I would love to see them keep doing it. But this year is different. They have suitors for both Turner and Hield that would give them real assets and keep them in the running to win the biggest asset of all.