3 reasons why the Pacers’ decline could be a blessing in disguise

Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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Aaron Nesmith, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images) /

1. The Pacers’ current play style is far from sustainable

No offense to Aaron Nesmith, who has been a revelation for the Indiana Pacers this season, but the young swingman is perhaps the poster child for the team’s identity this season. To be frank, that identity is starting to lose its luster, at least from a functional standpoint.

Starting four natural guards and one big man, the Pacers have been pushing the limits of small-ball this season in a regular way unforeseen since, well, the 2020 Houston Rockets (which completely neutered centers out of relevance). Playing with the seventh-fastest pace in the league, Indiana has been powered by their perimeter stalwarts for the large part.

Playing exclusively small has helped in harnessing each player’s offensive strengths, but that’s where the list of pros end. While personnel factors into their stylistic mantra heavily, the cons of forcibly veering away from even contemporary NBA norms far outweigh the benefits. To wit, the Pacers have been a lackluster point-preventing and rebounding unit, while their offense has been one of the more inefficient ones this season.

Moving forward, Indiana has to strike a more forgiving balance in the aspect of roster-building. Fortunately, their recent bids for external help on the frontcourt and wing positions should give fans a hint on what the front office should accentuate and emphasize moving forward.