Temper your expectations for the Indiana Pacers

Oshae Brissett, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Oshae Brissett, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

This season has been exciting so far for the Indiana Pacers. There have been multiple moments that are nearly unforgettable already. Nembhard’s last-second shot over Lebron to sink the Lakers. The game against the Warriors where Isaiah Jackson had seemingly endless alley-oop slams. The incredibly hot start of Bennedict Mathurin.

And there is a sense around Indiana that they maybe should go for it. Perhaps their ceiling is higher than we all thought and the Pacers shouldn’t aim for another high draft pick.

I would caution fans to temper their expectations

There are multiple signs that the Indiana Pacers are still a relatively weak team in comparison to much of the NBA. One quick look at league statistics will show that they struggle in many areas.

In terms of the Pacers’ offense, they are currently 17th in the league in offensive rating. While they are in the top 5 for pace, they have one of the highest turnover percentages (22nd). And they aren’t really standouts in any particular category, generally in the lower teens in league rank.

In terms of the Pacer defense, they are currently sitting at 19th in the league in defensive rating. And their rebounding on defense is atrocious at 28th in the league. To top all of this off, they are fouling at a relatively high rate leading to an almost league-worst 23.8% free throw per field goal attempted rate for their opponents.

One could make the argument that perhaps the Pacers have just had a rough schedule and they will eventually regress to the mean, where many of these numbers might start to look better. But the Pacers are 30th in strength of schedule, meaning it is only going to get harder for the team moving forward.

The Pacers aren’t good enough in their current construction

I know that we all want to believe that this team is top-tier and ready to contend. But the fact of the matter is, they aren’t. And they won’t be in their current state, even with additional growth from the current members of the roster such as Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin. Only bringing in new talent in the form of high draft picks and utilization of our extra cap space can make that happen.

I love the Pacers as much as anybody, and even when it is best for them to lose, I root for the win. To do otherwise would betray my instinct for sports. But deep down I know, the Pacers have a middling ceiling as constructed today, and small markets like us have to build through the draft.

Only time will tell what the front office decides. We can only hope they have their eyes on some rattling ping-pong balls next summer.

Cam Reddish will be traded to the Pacers. dark. Next